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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS: Dr. Kevin Barrett sued his former employer, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, only 27 days after initiating grievance procedures complaining of the termination of his employment. UTMB filed a plea to the jurisdiction, asserting that Barrett’s failure to wait 60 days before suing deprived the trial court of jurisdiction over his action. The trial court denied the plea, and a divided court of appeals, sitting en banc, affirmed. HOLDING: Affirmed. Texas Whistleblower Act 554.006 does not require that grievance or appeal procedures be exhausted before suit can be filed; rather, it requires that such procedures be timely initiated, and that the grievance or appeal authority have 60 days in which to render a final decision. The court did not decide here whether the failure to meet these requirements deprived the court of jurisdiction over the action. Whether the purpose of the requirements was, as the court of appeals concluded, to allow an opportunity for resolution of disputes before going to court, or instead, as UTMB argued, to deny a court jurisdiction over an action unless the requirements have been satisfied, the purpose was adequately protected by abating a prematurely filed action until the end of the 60-day period, provided that the procedures were timely initiated and could continue for the required 60 days or until a final decision is rendered, whichever occurs first, the court held. To the extent other cases had suggested or held to the contrary, the court disapproved them. OPINION: Per curiam. Brister, J., did not participate in the decision.

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