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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:GLF Construction Corp. appealed the district court’s order granting summary judgment on GLF’s tort claims against LAN/STV, a joint venture company. LAN/STV entered into a contract with Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) by which it agreed to prepare plans, drawings, and specifications for the construction of an extension to DART’s light rail system and to provide administrative and supervisory services for the project. DART awarded the contract for construction of the extension to GLF. GLF filed suit against LAN/STV. Lacking contractual privity with LAN/STV, GLF asserted tort claims of professional negligence and misrepresentation. GLF’s complaint alleged that the plans, drawings, and specifications LAN/STV prepared and provided for the project were negligently deficient and that the deficiencies were exacerbated by LAN/STV’s improper contract administration and supervision. LAN/STV filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground of derivative sovereign immunity, arguing that, as an independent contractor performing DART’s functions, it enjoyed the same immunity from GLF’s tort claims as DART would enjoy. The district court granted LAN/STV’s motion and GLF filed this appeal. HOLDING:The court affirms the judgment of the district court. The court focuses on whether the dismissal of GLF’s case was premised on a correct interpretation of Texas Revised Civil Statutes Art. 6550d. Under that law, where “an independent contractor of [a transportation] entity is performing a function of the entity or of a regional transportation authority . . . , the contractor is liable for damages only to the extent that the entity or authority would be liable if the entity or authority itself were performing the function.” The court notes that the doctrine of sovereign immunity would bar tort claims of the sort alleged by GLF, if asserted against DART. GLF could, however, assert claims against DART for breach of contract. GLF contends that, as long as the government entity could have been subjected to liability under some cause of action, the independent contractor performing a function that entity can be sued under any cause of action. The court disagrees and holds that Texas law carves out certain exceptions to the general rule that DART, as a government entity, is immune from suit and liability. Article 6550(d) effectively places LAN/STV, as an independent contractor performing DART’s functions, in DART’s shoes for purposes of liability. Texas law would not permit DART to be held liable in tort on these facts. Accordingly, neither does Article 6550d permit LAN/STV, performing DART’s functions, to be held liable in tort. The court rejects GLFs assertion that the district court has erred in confusing the term “liable” with the term “immune” in construing Article 6550(d). Governmental immunity under Texas law does incorporate two distinguishable principles, immunity from liability and immunity from suit. It does not follow, however, that by using the word “liable” in Article 6550d, the legislature intended to permit independent contractors to be held liable under any cause of action so long as the government entity for which the contractor was acting could be liable for breach of contract. The court holds that the distinction between immunity from liability and immunity from suit is simply inapposite to the interpretation of Article 6550d. The court also rejects GLF’s objection that the district court’s interpretation of Article 6550d creates immunity for independent contractors regardless of whether the government would be liable, merely because of the fortuity that a different cause of action applies. As GLF acknowledges, it can pursue its claims directly against DART through DART’s administrative procedures and, after exhausting that remedy, can file suit against DART for breach of contract. OPINION:Garza, C.J.; Garza, C.J., Reavley and Jones, JJ.

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