X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
In this premises liability case, we are asked to decide whether a two-inch difference in elevation between traffic lanes on a roadway constitutes a special defect as a matter of law under the Texas Tort Claims Act. TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE § 101.022(b). The court of appeals held this road condition was a special defect, finding the two-inch difference in elevation “an unusual or unexpected danger to normal users of roadways.” 222 S.W.3d 903, 909 (quoting State Dep’t of Highways & Pub. Transp. v. Payne, 838 S.W.2d 235, 238 (Tex. 1992)). Because we conclude that a two-inch variance in elevation between traffic lanes is not a special defect, we reverse the court of appeals’ judgment and dismiss the case.

Kenneth Reed brought suit against the City of Dallas to recover personal injury damages from a motorcycle accident caused by a two-inch elevation variance on the roadway as he changed lanes. Reed alleges the sharp unevenness between the traffic lanes constitutes either a special defect or a premises defect under the Texas Tort Claims Act. In response, the City filed a plea to the jurisdiction, arguing the two-inch elevation difference between the lanes was not a defect of any kind to waive the City’s immunity under the Act. The trial court, however, denied the plea, and the City filed an interlocutory appeal. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s denial of the plea to the jurisdiction, finding Reed pled a cognizable cause of action. 222 S.W.3d at 909.

Before reaching the merits, we must consider the issue of our own jurisdiction. Generally, a court of appeals’ decision in an interlocutory appeal is final, unless an exception applies, such as when a court of appeals holds differently from a prior decision of this Court or another court of appeals. TEX. GOV’T CODE §§ 22.225(b), (c); 22.001(a)(2). Decisions that hold differently are defined to include those that have an “inconsistency in their respective decisions that should be clarified to remove unnecessary uncertainty in the law and unfairness to litigants.” Id. § 22.225(e). Such a conflict exists here because the court of appeals’ opinion is inconsistent with our decisions in Harris County v. Eaton, 573 S.W.2d 177, 178-80 (Tex. 1978), and City of El Paso v. Bernal, 986 S.W.2d 610, 611 (Tex. 1999).

 
Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.

More From ALM

Premium Subscription

With this subscription you will receive unlimited access to high quality, online, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry. This is perfect for attorneys licensed in multiple jurisdictions or for attorneys that have fulfilled their CLE requirement but need to access resourceful information for their practice areas.
View Now

Team Accounts

Our Team Account subscription service is for legal teams of four or more attorneys. Each attorney is granted unlimited access to high quality, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry along with administrative access to easily manage CLE for the entire team.
View Now

Bundle Subscriptions

Gain access to some of the most knowledgeable and experienced attorneys with our 2 bundle options! Our Compliance bundles are curated by CLE Counselors and include current legal topics and challenges within the industry. Our second option allows you to build your bundle and strategically select the content that pertains to your needs. Both options are priced the same.
View Now

African Legal Awards (AFLA) 2022

September 02, 2022
Johannesburg

The African Legal Awards recognise exceptional achievement within Africa s legal community during a period of rapid change.


Learn More

China Law & Practice Awards (CLPA) 2022

September 08, 2022
Beijing

The annual China Law & Practice Awards is the jurisdiction's most prestigious legal awards ceremony that applauds China's elite.


Learn More

Texas Legal Awards (TXLA) 2022

September 14, 2022
Dallas, TX

The Texas Lawyer honors attorneys and judges who have made a remarkable difference in the legal profession in Texas.


Learn More

Personal Injury Attorney


Monge & Associates is recognized as a Top Places to Work! We offer flexible in-office schedules, remote options and top compensation rat...


Apply Now ›

ATTORNEY-Philadelphia-Conshohocken-PA


Casualty Defense/Subrogation - commercial lines. Experienced. Flexible with remote working. Great hands-on complex litigation opportunity, g...


Apply Now ›

Finance/Corporate Trust Lawyer - CT or Remote


We are seeking a lawyer with a minimum of five years of experience in transactional work to join our well-established, nationally renowned C...


Apply Now ›

DEASEY, MAHONEY & VALENTINI, LTD.

08/08/2022
TLI Web

DEASEY MAHONEY & VALENTINI LTD is proud to announce that Lauren M. Steins and Leanna B. Ruotanen have been named Partners of the firm.


View Announcement ›

PARRETT, PORTO, PARESE & COLWELL, P.C.

08/08/2022
CLT Web

Parrett, Porto, Parese & Colwell, P.C. welcomes attorneys Alison L. Broad and Andrew I. Schaffer as principals of the firm.


View Announcement ›

MARSHALL DENNEHEY

08/04/2022
TLI Web

Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin mourns the loss of Robert J. Coleman, the last of its founding name partners.


View Announcement ›