X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In 1959, Ann Bovis granted the City of Dallas an easement for street purposes over a portion of her real estate. Ten years later, she signed a 99-year lease with The Lincoln Company for use of some or all of the parcel, though it was unclear how the lease interacted with the easement. The lease contained a purchase option. In 1998, five years after Bovis died, her interest in the leased property was transferred to the Ann T. Bovis Property Trust. John Bargman was the trustee. Lincoln exercised the purchase option on the same day that Bovis’ estate purported to transfer to the trust the property subject to the city’s easement. In 2001, the trust sued Lincoln and the city, arguing the city had abandoned the street easement and that the city and Lincoln were trespassing on the trust’s property by installing various utility lines. Dallas filed counterclaims against the Trust, seeking to quiet title and alleging a breach of the warranty in the deed granting the city the easement. The city asked for actual damages. The city then filed a plea to the jurisdiction, and moved for summary judgment. The trust moved for summary judgment, too. The trial court granted the city’s plea to the jurisdiction on the trust’s cause of action for trespass, but the trial court denied the plea on the trust’s abandonment of the easement claim. Dallas filed an interlocutory appeal. The city argues the trust lacks standing to bring the suit because the trust no longer owns the property subject to the easement. The city also argues that it is immune from suit. HOLDING:Affirmed. As to the standing issue, the court finds that because the trust has alleged that it has an equitable interest in the property (the claim seeks to reform the deed with Lincoln to exclude the property subject to the easement), it has standing to assert its claim against the city. The court finds that Hamilton v. Green, 166 S.W. 97 (Tex.Civ.App. — Dallas 1914, no writ), makes clear that the suit to reform the deed and a cause of action based on the reformed deed may be brought in the same proceeding when the suit to reform the deed is not barred. The record does not show that Lincoln has asserted and proved limitations or that any other defense bars the trust’s suit for reformation of the deed. In this situation, as Hamilton makes clear, the trust’s suits for reformation of the deed and abandonment of the easement may be brought in a single proceeding. The court then turns to the issue of sovereign immunity and concludes that under Reata Constr. Co. v. City of Dallas, No. 02-1031, 2004 WL 726906 (Tex. Apr. 2, 2004), the city waived its immunity. The court has already held that Reata applies to all claims for damages brought by a governmental entity, including compulsory counterclaims, and the court finds that this principle extends to suits involving title to land, too. OPINION:Kerry P. Fitzgerald, J.; FitzGerald, Lang and Lang-Miers, JJ.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.