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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Authorities arrested Richard Allen and took him to Howard County Jail for driving while intoxicated and possession of marijuana. During the booking process, Allen indicated that he was medicated for a number of mental ailments, including depression, but that he was not thinking about killing himself at the time. Based on this and other information, jailer Adam Dunlap classified Allen as a risk for suicide, meaning that authorities would check on him every 15 minutes. Dunlap issued Allen a pair of trousers and a shirt to wear, and he was placed in a holding cell. After approximately one hour, Allen was found hanging from his jail-issued trousers. Attempts to resuscitate Allen failed, and he died. Allen’s family brought this suit against Howard County, the Howard County Sheriff’s Department, and several individual defendants under the Texas Tort Claims Act and 42 U.S.C. �1983. They argued that Allen should have been classified as a high risk on continuous watch, as opposed to a mere risk. By ignoring Allen’s obvious predisposition for suicide, the family argued, the defendants were deliberately indifferent by failing to protect Allen from his suicidal tendencies, furnishing him with the means to commit suicide and failing to properly train county employees. The individual defendants were granted summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds, and the family did not appeal that judgment. The district court subsequently granted summary judgment in favor of Howard County and its sheriff’s department (collectively, Howard County), and Allen’s family appealed that judgment. HOLDING:Affirmed. A Texas governmental unit is generally immune from tort liability unless the legislature has somehow waived immunity. Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code �101.021(2), the court stated, has a limited immunity-waiver provision, removing governmental immunity for “personal injury and death so caused by a condition or use of tangible personal or real property if the governmental unit would, were it a private person, be liable to the claimant according to Texas law.” Thus, the court defined the threshold question as “whether issuing a suicidal inmate trousers qualifies as a condition or use of property sufficient to waive governmental immunity.” The best reading of the Texas Supreme Court cases on the subject, the court stated, is that a waiver occurs if death or injury results from: 1. the direct use of property by a state actor; or 2. a defective condition of state-issued property, even if actively employed by a third-party at the time of injury. In other words, the court stated, when there is some intervening nonstate actor that proximately caused the harm, such as Allen in this case, there must be a defective condition in the property itself for a waiver of immunity under the TTCA. The 2004 Texas Supreme Court case San Antonio State Hospital v. Cowan, the court stated, makes it fairly clear that merely issuing nondefective trousers to Allen was not sufficient to waive immunity under the TTCA. Because it was Allen’s use of the state-issued trousers that caused his death, and there was no allegation that the trousers were in a defective condition, the court agreed with the district court that the TTCA’s waiver provision did not apply. Thus, the court held that Howard County was immune from the TTCA claim. OPINION:Benavides, J.; Jones, C.J., and Benavides and Stewart, JJ.

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