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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Deputy Constable Don Freeman brings this interlocutory appeal challenging portions of the trial court’s order denying certain of his pleas to the jurisdiction and motions for summary judgment in this case. Freeman challenges the trial court’s jurisdiction over the subject matter of the suit and argues he is immune from liability for claims brought against him. Appellee Wirecut E.D.M. Inc. leased a Robofil Model 6020 Wire E.D.M. machine (the “machine”) and came to be in default on the lease. The lessor obtained a writ of sequestration in the 116th Judicial District Court. Freeman was assigned to enforce the writ, and he did so with the help of Moving Services Company. According to Wirecut, at the time of the seizure of the machine, Wirecut informed Freeman of the delicate nature of the machine and gave him information on how to move, transport, and store the machine safely, but Freeman and Moving Services did not follow those instructions. When Wirecut recovered the machine, the machine was damaged. Wirecut sued Freeman and the moving company for damage to the Machine. HOLDING:Affirmed. Freeman argues that, if an officer is charged with negligently injuring seized property, any claim against him can only be brought in the identical district court that issued the writ allowing the seizure. In this instance, Freeman argues that only the 116th Judicial District had jurisdiction to hear Wirecut’s claims under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code 34.061, because the 116th was where the sequestration writ was issued. Freeman’s sole authority for this proposition is the above-emphasized statutory language. The court reads 34.061 to speak specifically to a party’s rights, not to a court’s power. The court concludes 34.061 does not limit the jurisdiction of any district court of Dallas County with general jurisdiction. Moreover, to the extent the statute speaks to “a motion filed with the court that issued the writ,” noncompliance with this procedure would not affect the jurisdiction of another district court. The court rejects Freeman’s argument that the 116th Court “has the right to preside over any disputes arising out of the execution of its own writ of sequestration.” Wirecut’s suit does not include a challenge to the writ in any form. In this case, the trial court that had issued the writ might have had more familiarity with the facts underlying the parties’ dispute. The parties could have asked for a transfer to that issuing court; the record indicates neither party did so. Regardless, familiarity with a case is not the same as exclusive jurisdiction over that case. The court concludes Freeman’s jurisdictional challenge to the 193rd Judicial District Court is without merit. Freeman’s second, third, and fourth issues complain of the trial court’s failure to find as a matter of law that he was immune from liability for any violation of 62.061. Freeman posits that, when he acts in the course and scope of his employment, he is entitled to the same sovereign immunity as his employer, Dallas county. Freeman asks this court to look at the legal theories under which his summary judgment motion succeeded. Under those theories official immunity, derived judicial immunity, and statutory immunity pursuant to 7.003 of the Civil Practice & Remedies Code the trial court necessarily found that Freeman was acting within the scope of his authority while executing the sequestration writ. Freeman argues that this finding is now the law of the case and that the finding, in effect, transforms the suit. Wirecut sued Freeman in his individual capacity. But according to Freeman, the trial court’s implicit scope-of-authority finding essentially transforms the suit into one against Freeman in his official capacity, which in turn transforms the suit into one against Dallas county. Thus, according to Freeman, because the county would have sovereign immunity, he should as well. At the outset, the trial court’s implicit finding of scope of authority pertained only to Freeman’s conduct while executing the writ. The claims relate to his conduct in safeguarding the sequestered property after the writ was executed. These are not equivalent factual issues so that the court may assume Freeman was for all purposes, at all times, acting within the course and scope of his authority. Moreover, if the trial court’s finding were relevant to these claims, it would speak only to whether � at the time of the allegedly negligent conduct � Freeman was discharging the duties generally assigned to him. That issue is relevant to whether Freeman is entitled to the qualified immunities that were at issue in the granted summary judgment motions. It is a different issue from the capacity in which Freeman was sued, i.e., in his individual or official capacity. This second issue relates to who is liable for the prohibited conduct of negligently failing to safeguard sequestered property. The statute states that “the officer” is liable. 62.061(c). The statute does not make the officer’s employer liable. Thus, when making a claim under this statute, the property owner correctly brings the suit against the officer in his individual capacity because he is the proper defendant. Freeman conflates the question “Who can be sued for the prohibited conduct?” with one element of the question “Who is entitled to immunity for different prohibited conduct?”. The questions are not the same, and answering one question does not suffice to answer the other. The inevitable result of Freeman’s understanding of sovereign immunity would be a system in which any governmental employee who committed a wrongful act while in the course and scope of his authority would be absolutely immune. That is not and cannot be the law, the court states. Sovereign immunity by its very nature attaches only to a governmental entity, not to individuals employed by that entity. The court concludes Freeman’s claim of sovereign immunity fails completely. Accordingly, the trial court correctly denied Freeman’s plea to the jurisdiction to the extent it relied upon sovereign immunity. Freeman moved for summary judgment arguing he is entitled to derived judicial immunity from the liability created by 62.061. The court concludes derived judicial immunity does not apply to a 62.061 defendant. Freeman moved for summary judgment arguing that he is entitled to official immunity from Wirecut’s 62.061 claims. The law provides that a qualified immunity inures to all governmental officials or employees who perform discretionary functions in good faith and within the scope of their authority. Although Wirecut argues official immunity should not apply in this case, the court finds no principled reason to except a 62.061 defendant from the reach of official immunity. The court concludes a genuine issue of material fact exists as to Freeman’s good faith in safeguarding the machine. The trial court did not err in denying summary judgment on the ground of official immunity for claims brought by Wirecut under 62.061. OPINION:FitzGerald, J.; Wright, FitzGerald and Lang-Miers, JJ.

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