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Click here for the full text of this decision Because Texas Education Code �11.151 does not clearly and unambiguously waive immunity from suit for breach of contract claims against independent school districts, the court affirms the trial court’s judgment dismissing plaintiff’s claims for want of jurisdiction. FACTS:Irving ISD contracted with Satterfield & Pontikes Construction build a new middle school. After various delays, Satterfield filed suit against the district for failure to pay delay damages and failure to extend completion time for the project in accordance with certain contract provisions. The district moved to dismiss the lawsuit on the ground that it was immune. Satterfield countered by saying Education Code �11.151, which allows the district to “sue and be sued” waived immunity. The trial court granted the district’s motion, and Satterfield appeals. HOLDING:Affirmed. Noting that a governmental entity is immune from suit unless the legislature has expressly waived that immunity, the court cites the full subsection (a) of �11.151: “The trustees of an independent school district constitute a body corporate and in the name of the district may acquire and hold real and personal property, sue and be sued, and receive bequests and donations or other moneys or funds coming legally into their hands.” The court determines that in this context, the “sue and be sued” language refers to the district’s capacity as a legal entity. The court also says that even if that interpretation is not embraced, the provision is “at a minimum” ambiguous enough that it cannot constitute the required express waiver. In reaching its conclusion, the court rejects Satterfield’s reliance on Missouri Pacific Railroad Co. v. Brownsville Navigation District, 453 S.W.2d 812 (Tex. 1970), which interpreted the “sue and be sued” language as giving general consent to court. In the years since Missouri Pacific, the court points out, the Texas Supreme Court has held that any waiver of immunity must be expressed by the legislature in clear and unambiguous language. The court acknowledges that its holding is different from holdings of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th, 10th and 12th courts of Appeal. “None of these cases, however, addresses or even acknowledges the changes that have taken place in the law relating to the waiver of immunity from suit issues since Missouri Pacific.” OPINION:Francis, J.; James, Francis and Lang, JJ. DISSENT:Lang, J. The dissent would interpret Missouri Pacific and the cases since then differently from how the majority has interpreted them. After giving a lengthy history of governmental immunity in Texas, the dissent characterizes the majority’s holding as attempting to overrule Missouri Pacific. The dissent would hold that the legislature “expressly waived immunity from suit respecting a contract claim when it uses ‘sue and be sued’ language in a statute.”

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