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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On Nov. 12, 2002, Cheryl Norris, a caseworker with the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department, was stationed at the Burnett-Bayland Reception Center (BBRC). She testified that her supervisor Melissa Watson requested that she investigate a possible incident involving G.G., one of the juvenile residents at BBRC that had occurred during the intake procedure. Norris had twice attempted to contact Antonio Valle, the supervisor on duty at the time of the alleged incident. He told her that he did not have time to discuss it but would discuss it later. When Norris told Watson that there were no reports on the incident, Watson instructed her to talk to G.G. G.G., who was initially reluctant to speak with Norris, ultimately told her that, during the intake process, he had sat down despite instructions given by the guard to remain standing, because he was feeling sick. In response, G.G. claimed the guard took him into the hallway and slammed him on the ground five or six times. G.G. was then moved to seclusion in handcuffs and shackles. After G.G. asked to speak to a supervisor, Valle came into the room. Valle told G.G. that, if G.G. did not write a grievance concerning the matter, Valle would not need to write a report saying that G.G. assaulted a staff member. Norris testified that G.G. knew that was a threat to keep him in detention longer and he just wanted to go home. He was scared he was going to have to stay longer if he reported it, so he didn’t. While she was talking with G.G., Norris saw Watson walk by and asked Watson to listen to G.G.’s story. Watson told Norris to get statements and to see if there were any witnesses. Norris testified that, while she was taking the statements of G.G. and another resident in BBRC, Valle showed up and told her that he was going to take over the investigation. The discussion between Valle and Norris was confrontational, and Valle testified that Norris became argumentative and refused to follow an administrative directive. Valle testified that statements from residents must be collected by a supervisor like himself or Watson; therefore, it was improper for Norris to be taking statements. Norris, on the other hand, told Valle that he should not be involved in investigating an incident in which he was implicated. Norris asked Valle to page Watson, but Valle did not know the number, and he refused to get the number from his office. Valle asked Norris for the reports that she had collected on the incident, and Norris refused to give him the reports. Valle ultimately notified the police to investigate the alleged abuse of G.G. The next day, Valle reported Norris’ refusal to comply with his administrative directives to the superintendent of the BBRC, Terry Snow. One week later, Norris was terminated. Norris sued the county pursuant to the Texas Whistleblower Act and alternatively pursuant to Texas Family Code �261.110, alleging that she was terminated for attempting to report child abuse to her supervisor. In response to interrogatories, the jury stated that Cheryl Norris’ report of abuse was in good faith and that her report of the abuse resulted in her termination. The jury also found that Norris sustained actual damages of $202,000, and the parties stipulated to attorneys’ fees in the sum of $15,000. The trial court denied the county’s motion for directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict. On appeal, the county argued that 1. The trial court erred in denying its motion for directed verdict; 2. There was legally insufficient evidence to support the jury’s finding that Norris’ report of abuse was made in good faith and was a cause of the county’s decision to terminate her when it did; and 3. The trial court erred in denying the county’s motion for JNOV. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court held that the evidence supplied some reasonable basis for differing conclusions by reasonable minds as to the existence of a vital fact and thus presented legally sufficient evidence to defeat a motion for directed verdict. The court held that there was more than a scintilla of evidence to support the challenged finding that Norris’ report of abuse was made in good faith and was a cause of the county’s decision to terminate her when it did. In her sole cross point, Norris contended that the trial court erred in denying her reinstatement to her former position or a comparable position in terms of compensation, benefits and other conditions of employment and reinstatement of fringe benefits and seniority rights lost because of her wrongful termination. But Harris County filed its notice of appeal on Oct. 13, 2004, the court stated, and Norris’ notice of appeal was due within 14 days thereafter. Norris’ notice of appeal was not filed until December 13, 2004, the court noted. Accordingly, the court dismissed Norris’ appeal for being untimely filed. OPINION:Hanks, J.; Taft, Keyes and Hanks, J.J.

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