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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Dwight Dequire, Michael Felini, Terrance Hopkins and Leroy Quigg sued the city of Dallas for breach of contract, seeking declaratory relief. The city’s first amended answer included a heading entitled “PRAYER.” It stated that the city asked that all relief be denied to the plaintiffs, and that the city be allowed to recover all costs, attorneys’ fees and other relief. The trial court granted the city’s plea to the jurisdiction, based on governmental immunity. On appeal, the plaintiffs argue that the city’s request for costs and attorneys’ fees waived the city’s immunity from suit. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. To qualify as a claim for affirmative relief, a defensive pleading must allege that the defendant has a cause of action, independent of the plaintiff’s claim, on which he could recover benefits, compensation or relief, even though the plaintiff may abandon his cause of action or fail to establish it. Citing a half-dozen cases on the nature of claims for attorneys’ fees, the court concludes that a defendant’s counterclaim for attorneys’ fees, raised in response to a declaratory judgment suit, is a claim for affirmative relief. The court also finds that a request for attorneys’ fees found only in the defendant’s prayer would function as a claim for affirmative relief for purposes of waiving immunity. “The City’s prayer for attorney’s fees is sufficient to support recovery of those fees under the Declaratory Judgment Act. Indeed, the City would have the very same recovery in this case, whether it had called its claim for fees a”Counterclaim’ or, as it did, merely prayed to recover the fees. If the differently titled requests would have supported the same recovery, we see no reasonable basis for treating them differently for immunity purposes.” OPINION:FitzGerald, J.; O’Neill, FitzGerald and Lang, JJ.

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