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Dismissed in Part, Affirmed in Part, and Majority and Dissenting Opinions filed August 3, 2010.


In June 2000, Kenneth Samuel Jones, now deceased, brought tort claims in county civil court at law against appellant the City of Houston after his neighbor, working pursuant to a City-issued demolition permit, damaged his home, rendering it uninhabitable. In December 2002, after receiving notice that the case was set for dismissal, the parties filed an agreed motion for continuance. In the motion, the parties stated that they had “conducted negotiations which lead to an amicable resolution of this case.” Although an actual settlement agreement is not in the record and the motion for continuance does not contain all the settlement details, the settlement involved an agreement to help include Jones in the City’s federally approved home repair program. The parties jointly requested a continuance because all the program’s resources were being used to help victims of Tropical Storm Allison and the parties did not know when program resources would be allocated to assist Jones. The home repair program was discontinued before Jones received any assistance. Jones then amended his petition to assert a claim for breach of the settlement agreement. Both sides moved for summary judgment, and the City also filed a plea to the jurisdiction, alleging it was immune from suit for breach of contract. The trial court denied the plea relative to enforcement of the settlement agreement. The City appealed, and the First Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the “sue and be sued” language in the City’s charter waived immunity. See City of Houston v. Jones, No. 01-03-00831-CV, 2004 WL 1847965, at *3 (Tex. App.–Houston [1st Dist.] Aug. 19, 2004), rev’d, 197 S.W.3d 391 (Tex. 2006). The Texas Supreme Court reversed, rejecting the claim of immunity waiver based on the City’s charter, and remanded with instructions for the trial court to determine if the City otherwise waived immunity, specifically under Local Government Code section 271.152 (Vernon 2005) (providing waiver of immunity from suit for claims against local governmental entities for certain types of contracts) or Texas A&M University-Kingsville v. Lawson, 87 S.W.3d 518, 522-23 (Tex. 2002) (finding waiver of immunity in that case based on entering into a settlement agreement). See City of Houston v. Jones, 197 S.W.3d 391, 392 (Tex. 2006).

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