Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The appellant, Octavish Freeman, appeals the trial court’s order dismissing his negligence claim against the appellee, Harris County, for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. The Harris County medical examiner’s office performed an autopsy on the body of Freeman’s 27-day-old baby. The autopsy was required by law pursuant to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 49.25 6(a)(7). After the autopsy, the office informed Freeman that it had lost the baby’s body. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. Freeman argues that the county has waived its immunity under 101.021(1) because it was negligent in using its tangible personal and real property, including an incinerator that is motor-driven, and this negligence resulted in the loss of his baby’s body. The county concedes that the incinerator is motor driven. The county argues that it has not waived its immunity under 101.021(1) because, even if this equipment was used after the autopsy, the equipment operated as designed to dispose of the baby’s body. The county argues that any damages suffered by Freeman were caused by the negligent acts of an individual employee and not by the negligent use of the incinerator itself. Section 101.021(1) does not require that, for the county’s immunity to be waived, the motor-driven equipment must be used for something other than its intended purpose, the court states. Freeman has alleged facts supporting his claim that his damages arise from a county employee’s use of motor-driven equipment, i.e., an incinerator, and that there is proximate causation between the employee’s alleged negligence and the loss of his baby’s body. Freeman alleges, among other things, that the county’s employees failed to follow county policy regarding the proper procedures for handling the baby’s body and that this failure resulted in the use of the incinerator to negligently dispose of the baby’s body following his autopsy. The court holds that the trial court erred in dismissing Freeman’s case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. OPINION:Hanks, J.; Jennings, Hanks and Mirabal, 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.