Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:A tort allegedly occurred when a city bus ran a stop sign that was obscured by tree branches. The city of Austin argues that sovereign immunity bars tort liability unless it had actual notice of the traffic sign’s condition. Because Lamas did not plead actual notice and because discovery revealed that the city did not have actual notice of the condition of the sign, the city asserted that the court lacked jurisdiction. The district court denied the city’s plea to the jurisdiction. HOLDING:Affirmed. The Tort Claims Act expressly waives sovereign immunity for “injuries arising out of conditions or use of property.” In cases involving the condition of a traffic sign, the Tort Claims Act expressly waives immunity for governmental units when the tort arises from a failure to warn of a special defect so long as the requisite notice standard is satisfied under 101.060. Section 101.060(a)(2) specifies that “notice” of a condition of a traffic sign is required to impose liability. Because the city argues that the statute requires a showing of “actual notice” � which neither party asserts the city had in this case � the court construes the meaning of “notice” as it appears in 101.060(a)(2). After reviewing 101.060 in the context of the Tort Claims Act, the court concludes that subsection (a)(2) does not require actual notice. In 101.022, the Legislature specifically carved out an exception to the general limitation on the duty to warn of premise defects in subsection (a) by creating a specific provision relating to special defects in subsection (b). In creating this exception, the Legislature directly contemplated exempting special defects, including stop signs, from an actual notice standard. Nonetheless, the Legislature decided that the removal or destruction of a road sign in 101.060(a)(3) should still fall under the actual notice requirement. However, the legislature chose to impose a different level of notice in 101.060(a)(2) for the absence, condition or malfunction of a road sign. The court respects the Legislature’s choice in enacting two differently worded clauses governing the notice requirement for tort liability in 101.060. The court believes that the Legislature intended to require actual notice only in 101.060(a)(3). It expressly chose to use different words when it crafted 101.060(a)(2). Given the plain language of 101.060(a)(2) in the context of the whole statute, the court concludes that the Legislature intended a difference between “notice” in 101.060(a)(2) and “actual notice” in 101.060(a)(3). The court holds that 101.060(a)(2) does not require actual notice and that the district court properly denied the city’s plea to the jurisdiction. OPINION:Law, C.J.; Law, C.J., Patterson and Puryear, JJ. Patterson concurs in the judgment only.

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.