X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Maria Reyes sued the City of Laredo for the wrongful death of her fourteen-year-old daughter, who drowned when the van in which she and her family were riding late one night was swept away in flash flood waters where Chacon Creek had overflowed Century Boulevard during a torrential rainstorm. The City asserted governmental immunity and moved to dismiss for want of jurisdiction. See Tex. Dep’t of Transp. v. Jones, 8 S.W.3d 636, 639 (Tex. 1999) (“[I]mmunity from suit defeats a trial court’s subject matter jurisdiction and thus is properly asserted in a plea to the jurisdiction.”). The trial court denied the motion, and the City appealed. See TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE § 51.014(a)(8) (“A person may appeal from an interlocutory order . . . that . . . grants or denies a plea to the jurisdiction by a governmental unit . . . .”); Tex. Dep’t of Criminal Justice v. Simons, 140 S.W.3d 338, 349 (Tex. 2004) (“The reference to ‘plea to the jurisdiction’ is not to a particular procedural vehicle but to the substance of the issue raised. Thus, an interlocutory appeal may be taken from a refusal to dismiss for want of jurisdiction whether the jurisdictional argument is presented by plea to the jurisdiction or some other vehicle, such as a motion for summary judgment.”).

With exceptions not relevant here, section 101.022(a) of the Texas Tort Claims Act limits the government’s duty to prevent injury from premise defects to those of which it has actual knowledge. See TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE § 101.022(a) (“Except as provided in Subsection (c) [pertaining to toll roads], if a claim arises from a premise defect, the governmental unit owes to the claimant only the duty that a private person owes to a licensee on private property, unless the claimant pays for the use of the premises.”); State Dep’t of Highways & Pub. Transp. v. Payne, 838 S.W.2d 235, 237 (Tex. 1992) (“[A] licensee must prove that the premises owner actually knew of the dangerous condition, while an invitee need only prove that the owner knew or reasonably should have known.”). But the limitation does not apply to “special defects such as excavations or obstructions on highways, roads, or streets.” TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE § 101.022(b); Denton Cnty. v. Beynon, 283 S.W.3d 329, 331 (Tex. 2009) (“Where a special defect exists, the State owes the same duty to warn as a private landowner owes to an invitee, one that requires the State ‘to use ordinary care to protect an invitee from a dangerous condition of which the owner is or reasonably should be aware.’” (quoting Payne, that a rain-flooded street is not a special defect, ___ S.W.3d ___, ___ (Tex. App.–San Antonio 2009), and we agree. But the court of appeals also held, by a divided vote, that the evidence supports an inference that the City had actual knowledge of the flooded crossing before the incident, id. at ___, and with this we disagree. Accordingly, we reverse and render judgment for the City.

 
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

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
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
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
July 22, 2024 - July 24, 2024
Lake Tahoe, CA

GlobeSt. Women of Influence Conference celebrates the women who drive the commercial real estate industry forward.


Learn More
September 05, 2024
New York, NY

The New York Law Journal honors attorneys and judges who have made a remarkable difference in the legal profession in New York.


Learn More
September 06, 2024
Johannesburg

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


Learn More

Description of WorkPosition Definition: The Office of Corporation Counsel seeks a seasoned contract and transactional attorney to prepare, r...


Apply Now ›

DEPUTY SOLICITOR GENERAL Position No: 125-31487 Salary Range: Commensurate with Experience Closing Date: July 31, 2024. Click...


Apply Now ›

McCarter & English, LLP is actively seeking a biotechnology patent associate or patent agent with an advanced degree in biology, biochem...


Apply Now ›
06/27/2024
The American Lawyer

Professional Announcement


View Announcement ›
06/21/2024
Daily Business Review

Full Page Announcement


View Announcement ›
06/14/2024
New Jersey Law Journal

Professional Announcement


View Announcement ›