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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Deputy Sheriff James VanDevender was injured on the job on April 11, 2000. He returned to work four months later and completed his term of office, which ended Dec. 31, 2000. The next day, Jan. 1, 2001, the sheriff redeputized VanDevender, and he began another term. Nonetheless, on March 2, 2001, he underwent surgery and never returned to work during the 2001-2004 term. VanDevender filed suit after the county stopped paying his full salary in February 2002. At trial, VanDevender testified that his disability resulted from the original April 2000 injury, and he denied sustaining any other on-the-job injuries. The trial court was first to decide the question of whether Texas Constitution Art. III, �52e, which allows counties to pay salary and benefits for sheriffs and their appointed deputies until the expiration of their terms of office, means that: VanDevender’s salary expired when his initial “injury/incapacity” term expired, even though his incapacity perhaps persisted or reoccurred in a subsequent term; or, alternatively, his reappointment extended the benefit so long as he remained a duly-sworn deputy. Following a bench trial, the trial court entered a take-nothing judgment against VanDevender. The trial court concluded that VanDevender’s maximum-salary entitlement ended on Dec. 31, 2000, the end of the sheriff’s term of office in which the injury occurred.” The trial court also found insufficient evidence that VanDevender’s present disability was caused by his injury on April 11, 2000. The 9th Court of Appeals, without considering the causation issue, affirmed the trial court, holding that VanDevender’s constitutional entitlement to full salary expired on Dec. 31, 2000, the end of the term in which his job-related injury and incapacity first arose. VanDevender appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, insisting that his constitutional right to full salary stretched beyond the term in which he was injured, because he was re-appointed and continuously employed into another term. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. The court declined to address whether Art. III, �52e, limits maximum salary to the term in which VanDevender’s injury/incapacity first occurred, because it found that the 9th Court did not adequately address the issue of causation. Specifically, the court stated that the 9th Court did not adequately address whether the April 2000 injury during the first sheriff’s term caused VanDevender’s disability in the subsequent sheriff’s term. The court remanded the matter to the 9th Court for consideration of VanDevender’s causation arguments. OPINION:Willett, J., delivered the opinion of the court.

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