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Employment Law Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Charles King was fired from Heart Hospital for failing a random drug test. Five days later, on April 30, 2000, King filed for unemployment benefits with the Texas Workforce Commission. At first he was approved, but on appeal by the hospital to the full commission, he was denied. The commission denied King’s motion for rehearing on March 6, 2001. Under Texas Labor Code �212.153, the decision became final 14 days later on March 20. King appealed this decision to a Travis County court on March 30. He later discovered that he should have filed the case in Bastrop County, so he had the Travis County action dismissed and 28 days later filed anew in Bastrop County on July 9. Heart Hospital and the commission filed pleas to the jurisdiction, arguing that King was required to file his suit by April 3, 14 days after the commission’s final order, according to Labor Code �212.201. The trial court denied the pleas. HOLDING:Reversed and dismissed. The statutory requirements of �212.201 are jurisdictional, the court notes. The 14-day deadline defines and restricts the kind of case that district court’s may hear. After 14 days, the commission’s order becomes final and cannot be appealed. “[T]he statutory fourteen-day deadline is a jurisdictional statutory prerequisite and a party’s failure to comply with it deprives the trial court of jurisdiction to review the Commission’s decision.” The court further rules that the general tolling provision of Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code �16.064 does not override the specific statutory limit imposed by the Labor Code. Nor does equitable tolling apply, as that doctrine is a limitations issue, not a jurisdictional statutory requirement, so it does not matter if King’s first suit in Travis County was filed on time. His second suit was not within 14 days, and the court has no jurisdiction over the matter. OPINION:Puryear, J.; Kidd, Patterson and Puryear, JJ. DISSENT:Kidd, J. “The only jurisdictional issue raised by the Commission’s plea to the jurisdiction was whether King filed his petition within the fourteen-day deadline. By filing his petition within the statutory fourteen-day time frame, albeit in the wrong county, I would hold that King satisfied the jurisdictional requirements to perfect his appeal of the Commission’s decision.”

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