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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The Town of Flower Mound sued the Upper Trinity Regional Water District for breach of contract. It sought declaratory and injunctive relief. In its response to the declaratory judgment claims under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Chapter 37, the water district asked for attorneys’ fees (the Flower Mound suit). While the case was pending, the water district filed an independent action seeking judicial validation of its proposed public securities pursuant to Texas Government Code Chapter 1205 (the district suit). The trial court consolidated the district suit with the Flower Mound suit. The town eventually nonsuited all of its claims for affirmative relief, including the Chapter 37 claims. All that was left, then, of the Flower Mound suit was the water district’s request for attorneys’ fees. The parties agreed that this cause should be severed from the district suit. On Aug. 31, 2004, the trial court signed an order stating that the town had nonsuited all of its claims against the district in both the Flower Mound and district suits. On Sept. 2, the trial court signed a final judgment in the district suit and dismissed Flower Mound’s claims without prejudice. On Sept. 16, the water district filed a motion to clarify and modify the trial court’s Sept. 2 dismissal order. It also filed a motion to sever the Chapter 37 claim from the district suit. The trial court signed an order stating that it had previously granted the severance orally and entered a final judgment on the town’s claims for declaratory relief under Chapter 1205. In its clarification order, the trial court explained that the Aug. 31 order of dismissal applied only to the town’s affirmative claims for relief, but did not adjudicate any of the district’s claims, including the request for attorneys’ fees and the claim for declaratory relief under Chapter 1205. The trial court further clarified that the Chapter 37 claims were severed from the Chapter 1205 claims. After the causes were severed, the court clerk assigned a new cause number to the request for attorneys’ fees under Chapter 37. The town filed a plea to the jurisdiction in this case, claiming the attorneys’ fees issue had been improperly severed, thus depriving the trial court of subject matter jurisdiction. The water district countered that the town was misconstruing the effect of the severance order. The trial court denied the town’s plea. HOLDING:Affirmed. The severance order in this case “clearly severs” all claims filed under Chapter 37, including the water district’s claim for attorneys’ fees. The record shows that both parties agreed this was the right thing to do. Any dismissal of the town’s Chapter 37 claims does not prejudice the water district’s rights to be heard on its pending claim for affirmative relief, i.e., the request for attorneys’ fees. Therefore, although the town’s claim for declaratory judgment under Chapter 37 was nonsuited prior to the severance order, the water district’s claim for attorneys’ fees was not affected by the dismissal, and the trial court did not lack jurisdiction to adjudicate the claim. OPINION:Holman, J.; Holman, Gardner and McCoy, JJ.

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