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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:William H. Bolton II and other students sued the Dallas County Community College District over the imposition of fees charged by the district to fund technology purchases and to support student services, claiming that the fees were illegally imposed. The trial court certified a class of students who paid these fees. After a jury trial, the trial court entered a judgment awarding the class approximately $15 million. The court of appeals applied a shorter two-year statute of limitations, limited the award of prejudgment interest, and accordingly ordered a reduction in the total amount of the recovery. It affirmed the remainder of the judgment. HOLDING:Reversed and rendered that the class take nothing. The parties here filed cross-motions for summary judgment. Defendants filed a motion for partial summary judgment under Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 166a(c) and 166a(i) seeking a determination that the class’s claims were barred by the defense of the voluntary payment rule as a matter of law and asserting that there was no evidence of duress. The class responded that they were entitled to summary judgment defeating the district’s defense as a matter of law because they paid the technology fees under duress, which rebuts a voluntary payment defense. The district had the burden of conclusively establishing its defense of voluntary payment. It introduced evidence that all of the named plaintiffs paid the fees without filing any type of grievance or protest. The district’s motion asserted that there was no evidence of duress. The class representatives submitted no evidence of duress but instead argued that duress was established as a matter of law by the district’s imposition of mandatory student fees. In construing Texas Education Code �130.123(c), the court concludes that the Legislature intended to provide public junior college districts with discretion to set both tuition and fees at appropriate levels as long as the districts comply with certain statutory requirements. even if �130.123(c) did not specifically authorize the district to set the amount of the technology fee, the district reserves and retains the authority to do so, absent allocation by the Legislature of this authority to some other body, or specific determination of the fee or limits on the fee amount by statute, �61.060. The class has not identified, and this court does not find, any statutory allocation of this authority to another entity or any legislation setting the fee. Therefore the district retained the power to do so. The court concludes that �130.123 provides junior college districts with the authority to impose technology fees and to set the amount of such fees. Because the plain language of �130.123(c) authorizes the junior colleges to “fix and collect” such fees, the court holds that the district was authorized to charge the technology fee regardless of whether the fee was pledged to support revenue bonds. Section 54.503 of the Education Code authorizes public institutions of higher education to charge fees to fund student activities. Payment of the increased fee was not mandatory for any member of the class; it was contingent on enrollment in a junior college in the Dallas County Community College District and selection of a certain number of credit hours for the semester. In light of the choices the students retained and their right to request a waiver of the fees or otherwise protest the imposition of the fee, any coercion that existed was not actual and imminent and did not constitute duress as a matter of law. “[W]e do not base the inability to recoup the payments in this case on any philosophical view of the government’s entitlement to the funds, but we adhere to longstanding legal precedent and predictability in the law, and acknowledge practical considerations of the public fisc. These holdings recognize the necessity for a governmental authority to be able to rely on a predictable income stream-the very interest that the voluntary payment rule seeks to protect.” OPINION:Wainwright, J.; Hecht, Medina, Green, Johnson and Willett, JJ., joined. Brister, J., filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Jefferson, C.J., and O’Neill, J. DISSENT:Brister, J. “The Texas rule is not, and never has been, that any payment once made cannot be recovered. See Miga v. Jensen, 96 S.W.3d 207, 211 (Tex. 2002). When the District invoiced students for the increased student-services fee, those who dutifully paid were not volunteers. As the Court concludes otherwise, to that extent I respectfully dissent.”

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