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Trial court properly dismissed subsequent purchaser’s TTCA and Takings claims after City demolished house

Jorge Rodriguez v. City of Fort Worth, 07-16-00037-CV (Tex.App. – Amarillo, December 8, 2017)

This is a takings/condemnation and TTCA case where the Fort Worth Court of Appeals affirmed the granting of the City’s plea to the jurisdiction.

Prior to Rodriguez’s ownership of a residential structure, the City’s Building Standards Commission found it to be substandard and hazardous to public health. A copy of the order was mailed to the then owner and filed in the deed records of Tarrant County on October 19, 2012.  Rodriguez purchased the property on December 12, 2012, without personal knowledge of the Commission’s order, but the court found Rodriguez possessed constructive knowledge due to the filing in the deed records. The property was demolished on June 28, 2013 by a contractor hired by the City.   Rodriguez brought suit, alleging the City intentionally destroyed the building (takings) or negligently destroyed it under the Texas Tort Claims Act. The City filed a plea to the jurisdiction which the trial court granted. Rodriguez appealed.

As to Rodriguez’ tort claims, nothing in the record shows City employees were involved with the demolition by “operating” or “using” motor-driven vehicles or equipment or by exercising any control over the independent contractor or its employees. No City owned motor-driven vehicles or equipment were used in the demolition.  As a result, the City has not waived its immunity under the Texas Tort Claims Act. As to Rodriguez’ takings claim, Rodriguez did not allege any facts demonstrating that demolition of his property was for public use.  The improvements on the property were found to be substandard and hazardous to public health; however, the owner was given the opportunity to bring those improvements up to code in order to prevent their demolition. When the owner failed to comply, the City removed the public health hazard. As such, Rodriguez’s claims do not allege a constitutional takings.   Rodriguez also asserted he requested leave to amend his pleadings and was denied. However, Rodriguez was given and took advantage of two prior amendments to address the City’s plea and supplemental plea. Because Rodriguez had a reasonable opportunity to amend he cannot now complain about being deprived of an opportunity to amend.  Furthermore, even if Rodriguez were afforded an opportunity to amend his live pleading indicates incurable defects – specifically, the use of an independent contractor of the tort claims and lack of a public purpose for takings. As a result, the plea was properly granted.

If you would like to read this opinion click here. Panel consists of Chief Justice Quinn, Justice Campbell and Justice Pirtle.  Memorandum Opinion by Justice Pirtle. The attorney listed for Rodriguez is Timothy E. Brown.  The attorney listed for the City is Harvey L. Frye.

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U.S. 5th Circuit holds fact question exists on qualified immunity between whether officer stepped in front of car to prevent escape, or was already in front of car and shot to defend himself

 

Vann v. City of Southaven, 16-60561 (5th Cir. November 22, 2017).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed the granting of summary judgment for the City and its officer in this police shooting and death case.

Vann drove Katchens and Katchens’s three-year-old son to a drug exchange which turned out to be a police sting operation. Shortly after Vann arrived at the lot, his car was boxed in by unmarked civilian cars driven by undercover police officers. The officers exited their cars, and Vann reversed his car, trying to escape. During Vann’s escape attempt, Vann’s car moved forward toward Sergeant Jeff Logan, who shot Vann before being knocked to the ground by Vann’s car. While Logan was on the ground, and as Vann’s car approached him for a second time, Lieutenant Jordan Jones fired a second shot at Vann. Vann died as a result of the shots fired by Logan and Jones. Katchens and his son survived.  The facts are in dispute as to whether the officers used lights/sirens, wore police badges and vests, and identified themselves as police officers. There is also disagreement as to the sequence of events.  Vann’s estate filed suit. The City and officers moved for summary judgment, which the trial court granted. Vann appealed.

The central disputed fact is whether Logan ran to the opening and shot Vann to stop him from fleeing or whether Logan ran between the cars to get out of Vann’s way and then shot Vann because Vann was going to hit him.  However, since the U.S. Supreme Court has told courts not to define “clearly established law” at a high level of generality, the disputed facts must be examined for an application.  Tthe question becomes if Logan’s conduct were believed to be as Katchens testified, is Logan still entitled to qualified immunity. When viewing the facts in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, Logan’s running into the way of Vann’s car and shooting at Van are not distinct acts. It has long been settled that “[w]here [a fleeing] suspect poses no immediate threat to the officer and no threat to others, the harm resulting from failing to apprehend him does not justify the use of deadly force to do so.” Put simply, “[a] police officer may not seize an unarmed, nondangerous suspect by shooting him dead.” On the other hand, if Logan was running away from Vann’s moving car and thus being threatened at the time he shot, a reasonable officer would have resorted to deadly force in such situations. Disputed evidence exists between Logan running in front of Vann’s car to prevent him from escaping and Logan already being in the car’s path and shooting to prevent injury. As a result, based on summary judgment standards, the summary judgment was improperly granted.

Justice Haynes concurred in part, but dissents as to the denial of Logan’s qualified immunity.  In his opinion, the disputed facts are disputed only up to a point. However, at some moment during this escape attempt, Logan was in front of the vehicle that ultimately struck him, Logan fired his weapon.  His opinion is that such force is reasonable under legal standards and Logan should have been granted qualified immunity.

If you would like to read this opinion click here.  The panel consists of Justices Smith, Elrod and Haynes. Opinion by Justice Enrod. Justice Haynes concurred in part and dissented in part.  The attorney listed for Vann is Daniel Marten Czamanske.  The attorney listed for the City is Robert Edwin Hayes, Jr.

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Dallas Court of Appeals holdd officer did not establish official immunity because of fact question exists as to whether a reasonable officer would look both ways before entering an intersection

 

City of Dallas v. Matthew A. Lamb, 05-16-01506-CV (Tex. App. – Dallas, December 4, 2017).

This is an interlocutory appeal from the denial of the City’s plea to the jurisdiction in a police auto-accident case. The Dallas Court of Appeals affirmed the denial.

Dallas police officer Valerie Womack was assigned to a major accident emergency call and was enroot. At a specific intersection, Womack did not see any vehicles posing a danger but recognized some danger exists when entering an intersection where “…visibility can be somewhat obscured by a building.” Lamb’s vehicle “appeared suddenly in the intersection” and collided with Womack.  The City asserted Womack was entitled to official immunity, therefore granting the City immunity. The trial court denied the plea and the City appealed.

The trial court focused on the “good faith” element of official immunity, holding a prudent officer “might well have been concerned” about the obstruction. The trial court held on the record “the video convince[d the trial court] even more that [Womack] stopped at the stop sign, then she proceeded. But she obviously couldn’t have looked both ways and proceeded because there’s no reaction from her until the impact. If she had slammed brakes because she saw him, something like that. But it appears from the video that she just wasn’t looking that way at all.” Based on the evidence in the record, the Dallas Court of Appeals held a fact issue exists as to “…whether a reasonably prudent officer, under the same or similar circumstances, could have believed that the need to immediately respond to a Code 1, no lights no siren, call outweighed a clear risk of harm to the public in continuing, without looking for oncoming traffic, through an intersection where her visibility was obscured.”  The plea was properly denied.

If you would like to read this opinion click here. Panel consists of Justice Bridges, Justice Fillmore and
Justice Stoddart. Memorandum Opinion by Justice Bridges. The attorney listed for Plaintiff Lamb is Roberto Alvarez.  The attorneys listed for the City are James B. Pinson, Jennifer Carter Huggard, and Barbara E. Rosenberg.

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Austin Court of Appeals holds ex-professor properly alleged disability and age discrimination claim even where there is no legal obligation to renew a term contract

 

Texas State University v. Dr. Kathleen Quinn 03-16-00548-CV (Tex.App—— Austin, Texas November 29,2017)

This is an interlocutory appeal from the denial of a plea to the jurisdiction in an employment-discrimination dispute where the Austin Court of Appeals affirmed the denial.

Quinn accepted an “emergency hire”  professor position for the University’s doctoral nursing program when it was just starting the program. When the University made the position permanent, Quinn applied.   She was  had progressive and severe nerve damage to her hands and feet. The pain in her feet made walking difficult. She requested an accommodation while in the temporary position, but nothing was done. The University did not hire Quinn and did not renew her contract the following year. She sued the University claiming disability and age discrimination and retaliation. She cast her case against the University as one coming within the terms of the Texas Labor Code section 21.051. The University filed a plea to the jurisdiction, which was denied. It appealed.

The court held “[c]ontrary to the University’s argument, Quinn discharged her pleading requirement in her amended petition by asserting in minute detail the facts supporting her discrimination and retaliation claims. [she] filed a lengthy fact-studded response in which she marshaled evidence in support of each contested element of her discrimination and retaliation claims.”  Quinn brought forward evidence that she was qualified for the job she had and for the post she sought. Apparently satisfied with her qualifications, the University kept her on for two years in “emergency hire” status. The University argued because there is no legal obligation to renew a term contract, as a matter of law no “adverse action” can occur.  However, the court declined to make that holding as a bright line rule. Quinn established she was replaced by a non-disabled, younger female. She also complained to her employers about the failure to accommodate her disability, which can form the basis of her retaliation claim. As a result, the plea was properly denied.

If you want to read the opinion, click here. The panel consists of Justices Puryear, Field and Shannon. Justice Shannon delivered opinion of the court. To see the attorneys listed for the Appellant and Appellee’s click here.

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U.S. 5th Circuit holds disabled individual did not request accommodation from officers performing field sobriety test so cannot sue for disability discrimination

Windham v. Harris County 16-20686 (5th Cir. November 13, 2017)

This is a §1983 suit where the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the granting of the County and Deputy Sheriff’s summary judgment motion.

Windham was arrested on suspicion of driving while impaired after he rear-ended another car. The other vehicle’s driver reported Windham appeared to be under the influence of some form of drug or alcohol. The deputy sheriff observed Windham’s eyes were bloodshot, that he appeared confused, and that he had not been aware that he had hit another car. Windham explained that he had taken a prescription painkiller at 3:00 a.m. and had been awake for twenty hours due to his condition of cervical stenosis (which causes his head to dip forward abnormally). He presented the deputy with a doctor’s note listing the condition. The deputy subjected Windham to a field  gaze nystagmus test (eye tracking). The deputy called a certified drug recognition expert, Deputy Matthew Dunn, to gauge Windham’s impairment. Dunn concluded that Windham was insufficiently impaired to justify arrest and released him. The entire encounter lasted 90 minutes. Windham sued Deputy Pasket, Dunn, and the County. The trial court granted all the Defendants’ summary judgment motions. Dunn appealed.

This is actually a Title II – ADA claim along with a §1983/4th Amendment seizure claim. In order to satisfy a Title II claim, Windham has to establish he was discriminated against “by reason of his disability.”  Windham attempts to satisfy the third prong on a theory of “failure to accommodate” which is expressly codified in Title I, not Title II. Under Title II, courts have recognized claims in the specific context of police officers who fail reasonably to accommodate the known limitations of disabled persons they detain. However, a critical component of a Title II claim for failure to accommodate is proof  “the disability and its consequential limitations were known by the [entity providing public services].”  Mere knowledge of the disability is not enough; the service provider must also have understood “the limitations [the plaintiff] experienced . . . as a result of that disability.” Otherwise, it would be impossible for the provider to ascertain whether an accommodation is needed at all, much less identify an accommodation that would be reasonable under the circumstances.  The court commented that it has not directly addressed what level of knowledge is required, however, in this case, Windham never directly requested an accommodation. His vague, generalized references as to whether he could do the test “… does not constitute the kind of clear and definite request for accommodations that would trigger the duty to accommodate under the ADA.”  Further, Windhem did not provide any evidence the deputies knew or should have known that Windham’s neck condition was such that looking straight ahead would injure him, and that the deputies  knew or should have known what accommodation he needed.  Knowledge of a disability is different from knowledge of the resulting limitation. And it certainly is different from knowledge of the necessary accommodation. The doctor’s note could not reasonably be found to have apprised the officers of Windham’s limitation or a necessary accommodation. His disability was not “open, obvious, and apparent” and neither was the accommodation which would have to be provided.

As to the 4th Amendment search, an investigative stop needs only reasonable suspicion. An arrest, on the other hand, demands the greater showing of probable cause. For reasonable suspicion the only relevant information is the information that was available to the officers at the time.

If you want to read the opinion, click here. The panel consists of Justices Smith, Owen and Higginson. Justice Higginson delivered opinion of the court.

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U.S. Supreme Court holds statutory deadlines are jurisdictional, court rule deadlines are not and may be waived

Hamer v Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, et al, No. 16-658, Slip. Op.,  2017 WL 5160782 — U.S.–,  (November 8, 2017).

This is an employment dispute, but the key point before the U.S. Supreme Court was the jurisdictional aspects of the timing for certain deadlines.

Hamer filed an age discrimination suit against her former employer, the Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (“NHSC”).  The trial court granted NHSC’s motion for summary judgment and entered final judgment on September 14, 2015.  Hamer’s notice of appeal was due, pursuant to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, by October 14, 2015. Hamer’s attorneys filed for a 60 day extension but also filed for withdrawal which the trial court granted.  Hamer filed an appeal on December 11, 2015, which should have been timely under the extension. However, the Court of Appeals, on its own, questioned its jurisdiction and timeliness of the appeal. At this point the NHSC chimed in with an objection to the timeliness of the notice of appeal, arguing the court could not extend jurisdiction as such extensions, by Rule, were applicable for only 30 days, not 60. Concluding that it lacked jurisdiction to reach the merits, the Court of Appeals dismissed Hamer’s appeal.  Hamer appealed and the U.S. Supreme Court granted review.

Section 2107 of Title 28 of the U. S. Code,  allowed extensions of the time to file a notice of appeal, not exceeding 30 days, for the lack of notice of the entry of judgment.  The U.S. Code does not address the situation, as here, a party has notice of the judgment.  But Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(5)(C) does prescribe a limit of 30 days.  Rule 4(a)(5)(C) limits extensions of time to file a notice of appeal in all circumstances, not just in cases in which the prospective appellant lacks notice of the entry of judgment.  However, the Court of Appeals erred in applying the Rule as  a jurisdictional bar equal to that of the statute. Only Congress may determine a lower federal court’s subject-matter jurisdiction. Failure to comply with a statutory jurisdictional time prescription, deprives a court of adjudicatory authority over the case, necessitating dismissal. Conversely, claim-processing rules are less stern. If properly invoked, mandatory claim-processing rules must be enforced, but they may be waived or forfeited and do not implicate subject-matter jurisdiction.  Stated another way, if the time limitation is in a statute, it can be jurisdictional. A time limit prescribed only in a court-made rule is not jurisdictional. Since NHSC did not object to the extensions when made, it waived the ability to complain about the extensions on appeal.

If you would like to read this opinion click here. Justice Ginsburg delivered the opinion of the Court.

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In annexation opposition, Dallas Court of Appeals opinion could result in trial courts using TOMA injunction provision to prevent legislative acts not yet up for vote

In Re: City of Mesquite, Texas 05-17-01303-CV (Tex.App— Dallas, November 14, 2017)

In this original mandamus proceeding, the Dallas  Court of Appeals held the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting certain injunctive relief prohibiting annexation in an extraterritorial  jurisdiction.

In its request for injunctive relief, the County alleged that the City violated the Texas Open Meetings Act (“TOMA”) and Texas Local Government Code by failing to provide proper notice of certain meetings and proper notice of the land sought to be annexed. Essentially, the County, through its authority to bring matters on behalf of the State of Texas, filed this as a quo warranto proceeding. The City, as noted in its briefing, was attempting to complete the annexation before the application of recent legislation changing the annexation scheme in Texas.  The trial court issued an injunction order prohibiting the City from taking any action until the trial court made a ruling on the merits. The City filed an original mandamus petition in the Dallas Court of Appeals seeking to have the court order the trial judge to vacate the injunctive order.

The City does not address the intervenors’ and County’s allegations of TOMA and Local Government Code violations or their contention that injunctive relief was properly sought and obtained under TOMA.  It does not explain how the allegations of TOMA violations are not likely to reoccur. Finally, the City contends that if it cannot annex the properties in question today, it will not be able to annex them at all. However, it does not explain how that contention would establish that the trial court abused its discretion.  As a result, it has not established the requirements entitling it to mandamus relief. [Comment: the opinion does not address the City’s arguments in its brief that the trial court lacked authority to enjoin a legislative function, which addresses the injunctive ability under TOMA and Local Government Code and that the annexation law changes effective December 14th, so no similar occurrence is possible. The State asserted the injunction only prevented the  City from holding meetings contrary to state law and that no irreparable injury is necessary to receive a TOMA injunction.]

If you want to read the opinion, click here. The panel consists of Justices Lang-Miers, Myers and Boatright. Justice Boatright delivered opinion of the court. To see the attorneys listed for the Appellant and Appellee’s click here.

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Since officer’s affidavit did not detail his evaluation as he approached intersection, 4th Court of Appeals holds city did not establish emergency response application to tort suit

City of San Antonio v. Patrick Torres and Johnnie Dears 04-17-00309-CV (Tex.app —— San Antonio, Texas November 15, 2017)

This is a Texas Tort Claims Act (“TTCA”) case involving a vehicle accident where the San Antonio Court of Appeals affirmed the denying of the City’s plea to the jurisdiction.

Torres and Dears were passengers in a truck which was struck by Officer Galvan’s vehicle after the officer failed to yield at a stop sign intersection. Officer Galvan did not have his emergency lights on but testified he was responding to a call over the radio for “officer in trouble.”  Torres and Dears sued and the City filed a plea to the jurisdiction. In the plea, the City asserted Galvan was responding to an emergency situation and did not act with conscious indifference. The trial court denied the plea and the City appealed.

The laws applicable to emergency vehicles allow the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle to proceed past a stop sign “after slowing as necessary for safe operation.” Tex. Transp. Code §546.001(2), (3) (West 2011). Although the operator of an emergency vehicle has a duty to operate the vehicle “with appropriate regard for the safety of all persons,” liability is imposed only for reckless conduct  The Plaintiffs’ pleadings allege Galvan’s conduct was reckless or taken with conscious indifference.  Because the emergency call analysis is inextricably bound to the merits, the City bears the burden of establishing the elements for the defense. The City was required to present evidence establishing Officer Galvan was responding to an emergency call, complied with the laws applicable to an emergency, and did not operate his vehicle recklessly or with conscious indifference. Officer Galvan’s affidavit stated he “decided not to engage his lights or sirens” because he was in “close proximity to the dangerous situation” and did not want to escalate the situation or to spook or frighten the suspect and that he continuously evaluated the traffic conditions. However, the affidavit focused on his response to the emergency and did not establish he followed the laws or any facts as he approached and went through the intersection. Since the affidavit does not provide sufficient facts of what Officer Galvan did, evaluated, considered, and decided, at the intersection the City has not established the applicability of the emergency call exception.

If you want to read this opinion, click here. The panel consists of Justice Chapa Justices, Barnard and Horton. Justice Chapa delivered the opinion of the court. To see the attorneys listed for the Appellant and Appellee’s click here.

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City immune from suit for traffic light displaying “walk” signal at same time as green “turn arrow” says 13th Court of Appeals

City of Edinburg v. Melinda Balli  13-17-00183-CV (Tex.App–, Corpus Christi, November 9, 2017)

This is a Texas Tort Claims Act case where the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals reversed the denial of the City’s plea to the jurisdiction and dismissed the Plaintiff’s claims.

Balli asserts she was struck by a vehicle as she used a crosswalk near the Hidalgo County Courthouse.  She asserts the pedestrian traffic light displayed a “walk” signal for pedestrians when she began to cross, however, the traffic light displayed a green arrow for turning vehicles, thereby causing the accident.  She asserts the City entered into a Municipal Maintenance Agreement with the State of Texas, in which the City undertook the duty “to make changes in the design and operation of the highway traffic signal(s) as it may deem necessary . . . .” and to provide and maintain traffic lights at various intersections. According to Balli’s petition, the City was aware of the problem with the traffic signals due to a similar collision on January 17, 2012. The City filed a plea to the jurisdiction arguing the lights were not malfunctioning, but were operating as designed by TxDOT to display a “walk” and a “turn arrow” at the same time. Vehicles are required to yield to pedestrians in the cross-walks. The trial court denied the plea and the City appealed.

Under the Texas Tort Claims Act (“TTCA”), the Texas Supreme Court has found a waiver of immunity “only in those situations in which the sign or signal was either (1) unable to convey the intended traffic control information, or (2) conveyed traffic control information other than what was intended.”  The term “condition” under the TTCA refers exclusively to “something ‘wrong’ with the traffic sign or signal such that it would require correction after notice.” Further, under the TTCA, a governmental entity remains immune from suits arising from its discretionary acts and omissions. The City asserts it assumed responsibility for the lights in 2012, and the City has not changed the lights’ programming originally inserted by TxDOT since that time. The City reasoned that because the lights “convey[ed] the intended traffic control information,” the traffic lights do not qualify as a wrongful condition of real property for which immunity would be waived. Based on testimony attached to the plea, the City utilized its discretion not to change the design or programming of the lights since they complied with TxDOT guidelines. Since the City established the lights were working as intended, Balli had the burden to negate that factual assertion. However, the only evidence Balli provides merely attacks the wisdom of that intent and the discretionary design choices, not the functioning of the lights. Balli has not produced any evidence that would create a fact issue concerning the existence of a “condition” in real property and waive immunity. The trial court should have granted the plea.

If you want to read this opinion, click here. The panel consists of Justices Rodriguez,  Benavides, and Longoria. Justice Rodriguez delivered the opinion of the court. To see the attorneys listed for the Appellant and Appellee click here.

 

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TOMA posting inside City Hall with a “cancelled” stamp on an agenda controlled, regardless of other agendas says 13th Court of Appeals

City of Donna, Texas, David Simmons, Jose Garza, Simon Sauceda, Irene Munoz and Sonia Gallegos v. Oscar Ramirez 13-16-00619-CV (Tex.App— Corpus Christi, November 9, 2017)

This is a Texas Whistleblower Act case where the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of the City Defendants’ plea to the jurisdiction.

Ramirez, the City’s former city manager, brought causes of action against the City under the Texas Whistleblower Act and the Texas Open Meetings Act (“TOMA”). He asserts he was terminated after he reported the Chief of Police and municipal judge for ordering him to waive certain municipal fees. He asserts the meeting where the City Council terminated him was not conducted properly under TOMA. He brought suit against the City and individual officials. The City Defendants filed a plea to the jurisdiction, which the trial court denied. The City Defendants appealed.

The 13th Court first addressed the TOMA violations. The City Charter had a special provision for notice and removal of the City Manager. The City Council could act to terminate at a properly posted meeting, but the City Manager had the right to request another meeting with charges. After the first meeting, Ramirez’ lawyer requested the charges and the second meeting. After it was scheduled, the lawyer requested it be reset and the City Secretary advised him it was reset. And while she provided txts to the council members about the reset and stamped “cancel” on the agenda inside City Hall, the agenda posted outside City Hall did not change.  The meeting proceeded as originally scheduled and the City Council affirmed the termination. The court held Ramirez had standing to sue under TOMA as an interested member of the public.  Under TOMA, a stamp of “canceled” tells the public the meeting would not be held. The fact the notices outside City Hall did not change did not save this defect. The language of §551.050 of TOMA specifically states a posting must exist in the City Hall.  As a result, the trial court did not err. Under the Texas Whistleblower Act, the elements of a  claim must be included in the pleadings so that the court can determine whether they sufficiently allege a violation and therefore waive immunity. The Texas Constitution states, in relevant part, that an entity may not “lend its credit or to grant public money or thing of value in aid of, or to any individual…” Tex. Const. art. III, §§ 50, 52(a).  Additionally, while not expressly listed by statute, the factual allegations trigger various penal statutes as well, including abuse of official capacity under Tex. Penal Code §39.02(a)(West 2015). Ramirez asserts he was ordered to waive and/or discount certain bills and/or charges for certain city services, e.g., sewer and water bills, fees for pavilion rental at the city park, and/or cemetery fees. Such actions, if true, could possibly violate both the Texas Constitution and the penal code. Recognizing that Ramirez’s burden of proof at this stage does not involve a significant inquiry into the substance of his Whistleblower claim, the court held he properly pled a claim. Ramirez’s Whistleblower and TOMA claims were brought solely against the City, while Ramirez’s declaratory judgment action was brought solely against certain appellants in their individual capacities. Since the individuals cannot claim the City’s immunity as a defense for a plea, their part of the appeal is not authorized under the interlocutory appeal statute raised. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §51.014(a)(8)(West 2015).  As a result, the trial court did not err in denying the plea.

If you want to read this opinion, click here. The panel consists of Justice Valdez Justices, Conteras, and Hinojosa. Justice Hinojosa delivered the opinion of the court. To see the attorneys listed for the Appellants and Appellee click here.