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The full case caption appears at the end of this opinion. Seven owners of certain types of Ford vehicles, individually and on behalf of all others who bought similar vehicles inTexas, brought this class action against Ford Motor Co., a Ford dealer, and a Ford district manager. The suit prayed fordamages for peeling paint, allegedly caused by the lack of spray primer in the paint process, on certain 1984-1993vehicle models. The trial court certified the class under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 42(b)(4). The court of appealsaffirmed after modifying the class definition. 965 S.W.2d 65. Ford filed this interlocutory appeal in this Court under TexasMotor Vehicle Commission Code Section 6.06(g). We hold that this Court does have jurisdiction, and that the trialcourt’s definition and the court of appeals’ modified definition are both defective. Because these defects cannot be curedon appeal, we reverse the court of appeals’ judgment affirming the class certification and remand for the trial court todecertify the class. I Barry Sheldon, Matthew Rueter, Margaret Dunayer, John Porter, William Dobbs, James Beasley, and B.J. Sanders(collectively “Purchasers”) filed this consumer class action against Ford Motor Co., Leif Johnson Ford, Inc.(a Forddealership in Austin), and Fred Capdevielle (Ford’s district manager in Houston from 1984-1994) (“Ford”), alleging thatFord knowingly used a defective paint process resulting in premature paint peeling on their Ford vehicles. They contendthat the cause of this defect was Ford’s removal of spray primer from the paint process as a cost-saving measure in theearly 1980s. Before that time, Ford applied low-build electrocoat to sheet metal and then sprayed a primer before addingthe enamel topcoat. Under the new process, which was adopted for F-Series Trucks, Broncos, Bronco IIs, Rangers, andMustangs, Ford replaced low-build electrocoat with medium- or high-build electrocoat and then applied the topcoatdirectly to the electrocoat. Purchasers argue that, because electrocoat is not weather-resistant, removing the primer fromthe paint process caused the paint on many vehicles to delaminate. When exposed to ultraviolet sunlight, the enamel paintcoat could separate from the vehicle’s metal surface within 18 to 36 months. Purchasers assert that Ford learned of thealleged defect within a few years after adopting the new paint process, but continued to use it until the early 1990s, sellingthe affected cars to Texas consumers while consciously concealing the problem. (1) Based on these allegations, Purchasers brought claims against Ford for violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act(“DTPA”) and breaching the implied warranty of merchantability. Purchasers alleged that Ford violated section17.46(b)(5) of the DTPA by representing that the vehicles have characteristics that they do not have, section 17.46(b)(7)by representing that the vehicles are of a particular quality when they are, in fact, of another, section 17.46(b)(23) byfailing to disclose information about the vehicles that was known at the time of the transactions when such failure todisclose was intended to induce consumers into transactions that they would not have entered had the information beendisclosed, and section 17.45(5) by acting unconscionably. See Tex. Bus. & Comm. Code. �� 17.45 (5), 17.46 (b)(5),(7), (23). Purchasers also brought breach of contract, common-law fraud and conspiracy to defraud claims. Aftercertification, the trial court granted Ford’s motion for summary judgment with respect to Purchasers’ breach of contractand common-law fraud claims. The conspiracy claim, which alleges that “Defendant Ford conspired with other dealers tohide this problem from consumers and to prevent consumers from getting their vehicles promptly and properly repaired,”apparently remains pending in the trial court. Purchasers sought certification of the following class: All persons who purchased a new 1987-1993 Ford F-Series Truck, 1987-1993 Ford Bronco, 1987-1989 FordBronco II, 1987-1992 Ford Ranger or 1987-1989 Ford Mustang in Texas on or after March 8, 1988 which waspainted with high build electrocoat or medium build electrocoat and no spray primer and who suffered past and/or futuredamage as a result of peeling or flaking paint on these vehicles caused by a defective paint process (i.e., high buildelectrocoat or medium build electrocoat and no spray primer) excluding persons who purchased vehicles pursuant to afleet account or fleet identification number; and All persons who purchased a new 1984-1988 Ford F-Series Truck, 1984-1988 Ford Bronco, 1984-1988 FordBronco II, 1984-1988 Ford Ranger or 1984-1988 Ford Mustang in Texas prior to March 8, 1988 which was paintedwith high build electrocoat or medium build electrocoat and no spray primer and who paid Ford or a Ford dealership fora paint repair to their vehicle to repair peeling or flaking paint caused by a defective paint process (i.e., high buildelectrocoat or medium build electrocoat and no spray primer), excluding persons who purchased vehicles pursuant to afleet account or fleet identification number. The trial court certified the class under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 42(b)(4), determining that these questions werecommon to the class: (1) whether there was a defective paint process by reason of lack of primer, (2) whether Ford hadknowledge of the defect, (3) whether Ford withheld information of the defect when it had a duty to disclose, and (4) howthe discovery rule applied to delay the running of limitations. The court contemplated a two-phase trial in which thecommon liability questions would be determined first, with the court proceeding to individualized damage inquiries only ifFord were found liable. The court of appeals modified the certification order. Although the court approved having “aphase of individual trials following the class-wide resolution of the common issues,” 965 S.W.2d at 67-68, it determinedthat the class definitions in the certification order “violate Rule 42 by allowing the named plaintiffs to proceed in a classaction before showing that a class exists.” Id. at 73. The court modified the definitions by inserting the phrase “who allegethe peeling or flaking was” before the clause “caused by a defective paint process” in both subclasses. Id. at 74. Asmodified, the class includes those purchasers of certain specified Ford vehicles who suffered past or future diminution invalue damages or out of pocket expenses from peeling paint and who allege that the cause of the peeling is the lack ofspray primer in the paint process. Ford filed an interlocutory appeal in this Court under Texas Motor Vehicle CommissionCode Section 6.06(g), requesting that we reverse the judgment of the court of appeals and decertify the class. See Tex.Rev. Civ. Stat. art. 4413(36), � 6.06(g). Ford argues that the court of appeals erred in (1) redefining the class suasponte to include those who allege that the lack of primer caused the peeling of their vehicles, thereby certifying a”failsafe” class; (2) determining that common issues exist when “a jury may reach different conclusions with respect todifferent class members”; (3) concluding that the common issues predominate over individual issues given the court ofappeals’ conclusion that “thousands of individual trials might be necessary on liability and damage issues,” 965 S.W.2d at72; (4) determining that the class action is superior to alternative means of adjudication when the DTPA providesincentives for individual adjudication; and (5) affirming a trial plan providing for adjudication of liability issues before onejury and damage issues before a second group of juries when Texas prohibits multi-stage, piecemeal trials. II Before reaching the merits of this appeal, we must first consider Purchasers’ contention that this Court lacks jurisdiction.Beginning in 1985, the Legislature provided for interlocutory review of the grant or denial of class certification under Rule42, but only to the courts of appeals. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code. � 51.014 (3). This Court had authority toreview such judgments of the courts of appeals only if jurisdiction was otherwise established under Section 22.001(a)(1)or (2) of the Texas Government Code. See Tex. Gov’t Code �� 22.225(b)(5),(c); 22.001(a)(1),(2). Thus, we havedismissed most attempts to secure Supreme Court review of class certification for want of jurisdiction. See, e.g., CoastalCorp. v. Garza, 979 S.W.2d 318 (Tex. 1998); Glassell v. Ellis, 956 S.W.2d 676 (Tex. App.–Texarkana 1997, pet.dism’d w.o.j.); Health & Tennis Corp. of Am. v. Jackson, 928 S.W.2d 583 (Tex. App.–San Antonio 1996, writdism’d w.o.j.); Weatherly v. Deloitte & Touche, 905 S.W.2d 642 (Tex. App.–Houston[14th Dist.] 1995, writ dism’dw.o.j.); National Gypsum Co. v. Kirbyville Ind. Sch. Dist., 770 S.W.2d 621 (Tex. App.–Beaumont 1989, writdism’d w.o.j.). Ford urges jurisdiction under Section 6.06(g) of the Texas Motor Vehicle Commission Code, recently enacted in 1997,which allows this Court to review a court of appeals’ decision about the grant or denial of class certification involving amotor vehicle licensee even in the absence of a conflict or dissent. See Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art. 4413(36), � 6.06(g)(Supp. 1999). (2) Purchasers concede that Section 6.06(g) vests this Court with jurisdiction, but they claim the statute isunconstitutional because it violates the prohibition against special laws, denies equal protection of the laws, and has aninsufficient title. Article III, Section 56 of the Texas Constitution prohibits the Legislature from enacting a special law “[r]egulating thepractice or jurisdiction of . . . any judicial proceeding or inquiry before courts.” Tex. Const. art. III, � 56. We havedefined a special law as one “limited to a particular class of persons distinguished by some characteristic other thangeography.” Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Found. v. Lewellen, 952 S.W.2d 454, 465 (Tex. 1997); Maple Run atAustin Mun. Util. Dist. v. Monaghan, 931 S.W.2d 941, 945 (Tex. 1996); see also 1 Braden, The Constitution of theState of Texas: An Annotated and Comparative Analysis 277 (1977). Purchasers contend that Section 6.06(g) is anunconstitutional special law because it unreasonably distinguishes “class actions involving cars and trucks from classactions involving the goods and services provided by every other business in the world.” The constitutional prohibition against special laws was intended to suppress the enactment of “laws for the advancementof personal rather than public interests” and “the reprehensible practice of trading and ‘logrolling.’” Miller v. El PasoCounty, 150 S.W.2d 1000, 1001 (Tex. 1941). Thus, the purposes underlying Section 56 are “‘to prevent the granting ofspecial privileges and to secure uniformity of law throughout the state as far as possible.’” Maple Run, 931 S.W.2d at945 (quoting Miller, 150 S.W.2d at 1001). Purchasers argue that Section 6.06(g) violates these purposes because itgives car manufacturers and dealers a “special privilege” not granted to other litigants and “also eliminates the uniformity ofthe law on interlocutory class certification appeals.” Although we acknowledge that the benefits imparted by Section 6.06(g) are indeed restricted to a particular class, (3) wealso recognize the Legislature’s broad authority to make classifications for legislative purposes. Maple Run, 931 S.W.2dat 945; Miller, 150 S.W.2d at 1001. The limits to this authority are that “‘the classification must be broad enough toinclude a substantial class and must be based on characteristics legitimately distinguishing such class from others withrespect to the public purpose sought to be accomplished by the proposed legislation.’” Maple Run, 931 S.W.2d at 945(quoting Miller, 150 S.W.2d at 1001-02). But as this Court stated in Rodriguez v. Gonzales, 227 S.W.2d 791, 793(Tex. 1950): “The primary and ultimate test of whether a law is general or special is [1] whether there is a reasonablebasis for the classification made by the law, and [2] whether the law operates equally on all within the class.” AccordTexas Boll Weevil, 952 S.W.2d at 465; Maple Run, 931 S.W.2d at 945. We conclude that there is a reasonable basis for distinguishing class actions involving motor vehicle licensees from otherclass actions and that Section 6.06(g) operates equally on all within the class. First, “[a] statute is not local or special . . .if it operates on a subject in which people at large are interested.” Langdeau v. Bouknight, 344 S.W.2d 435, 441 (Tex.1961); accord Smith v. Davis, 426 S.W.2d 827, 832 (Tex. 1968); City of Irving v. Dallas/Fort Worth Int’l AirportBd., 894 S.W.2d 456, 466 (Tex. App.–Fort Worth 1995, writ denied). Automobiles and related issues such asautomobile safety are important subjects to the public. Automobiles are the primary means of transportation for mostpeople; many, if not most, travel many thousands of miles each year and hence spend hundreds of hours each year in anautomobile. In fact, acquiring an automobile is one of the largest and most important purchases that many consumers willmake. (4) As a result, automobiles have often been the subject matter of Texas class action suits. See, e.g., GeneralMotors Corp. v. Brewer, 966 S.W.2d 56 (Tex. 1998); General Motors Corp. v. Bloyed, 916 S.W.2d 949 (Tex.1996); Brookshire v. Longhorn Chevrolet Co., 788 S.W.2d 209 (Tex. App.–Fort Worth 1990, no writ). Thus, it isreasonable for the Legislature to ensure heightened judicial scrutiny of these class actions that affect so many individuals.This justification is sufficient to sustain Section 6.06(g) against constitutional challenge. See Inman v. Railroad Comm’n,478 S.W.2d 124, 127 (Tex. Civ. App.–Austin 1972, writ ref’d n.r.e.). Second, Section 6.06(g) applies uniformly to all members of the affected class, as any party to a class action suit involvinga licensee may assert a claim thereunder. Under the circumstances, Section 6.06(g) is not a special law that violatesArticle III, Section 56 of the Texas Constitution. Purchasers also argue that Section 6.06(g) violates Article I, Sections 3 and 3a of the Texas Constitution and theFourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution providing for equal protection under the laws. U.S. Const.amend. XIV; Tex. Const. art. I, �� 3, 3a. As we stated in Trinity River Authority v. URS Consultants, Inc., 889S.W.2d 259, 264 (Tex. 1994): “Both the state and federal equal protection guarantees require a similar multi-tieredanalysis. Where the classification does not impinge on a fundamental right, or distinguish between persons on a suspectbasis such as race or national origin, it is valid as long as it is rationally related to a legitimate state purpose.” (citationsomitted). Section 6.06(g)’s classification does not impinge on a fundamental right. We have already decided that there is arational basis for allowing parties to a class action involving a motor vehicle licensee to seek this Court’s review of a classcertification order. We therefore conclude that the provision does not violate the equal protection guarantees of either thefederal or the state constitution. Finally, Purchasers claim that Section 6.06(g) violates Article III, Section 35 of the Texas Constitution, which requiresthat “the subject of each bill be expressed in its title in a manner that gives the legislature and the public reasonable noticeof that subject.” Tex. Const. art. III, � 35(b). But in 1986, the people amended this section to further provide that “[t]helegislature is solely responsible for determining compliance with the rule” and that “a law . . . may not be held void on thebasis of an insufficient title.” Tex. Const. art. III, � 35(b), (c). Thus, laws will no longer be struck down because of adeficiency in title, no matter how egregious. See Baggett v. State, 722 S.W.2d 700, 702 (Tex. Crim. App. 1987)(determining that a court “no longer has the power to declare an act of the legislature unconstitutional due to theinsufficiency of its caption”). For all these reasons, we conclude that Section 6.06(g) is not unconstitutional. We therefore exercise jurisdiction over thisinterlocutory appeal under that section without considering whether jurisdiction exists under Texas Government CodeSection 22.001(a)(2). III The class action device originated in the equity courts of England as a means to overcome the requirement that “allpersons materially interested, either legally or beneficially, in the subject matter of a suit, are to be made parties to it.”Dickerson, Class Actions: The Law of 50 States � 1.02 [1], at 1-6 (1999) (citation omitted); see also PhillipsPetroleum Co. v. Shutts, 472 U.S. 797, 808 (1985); Hansberry v. Lee, 311 U.S. 32, 41 (1940). It was designed as”‘an exception to the usual rule that litigation is conducted by and on behalf of the individual named parties only.’” GeneralTel. Co. v. Falcon, 457 U.S. 147, 155 (1981) (quoting Califano v. Yamasaki, 442 U.S. 682, 700-01 (1979)). “In aclass action, the complained-of wrong is allegedly committed against a class of individuals, and the judgment in the casebinds the entire class, not merely named parties.” Vinson v. Texas Commerce Bank-Houston, 880 S.W.2d 820, 823(Tex. App.–Dallas 1994, no writ). Although Federal Rule 23 codified the class action procedure in 1938, it “gained itscurrent shape in an innovative 1966 revision.” Amchem Prods., Inc. v. Windsor, 521 U.S. 591, 613 (1997); seegenerally Kaplan, Continuing Work of the Civil Committee: 1966 Amendments of the Federal Rules of CivilProcedure (I), 81 Harv L. Rev. 356 (1967). Texas Rule 42, adopted in 1941 and patterned after the federal rule, wasalso fully revised in 1977 to conform to the 1966 federal amendments. Thus, federal decisions and authorities interpretingcurrent federal class action requirements are persuasive in Texas actions. See RSR Corp. v. Hayes, 673 S.W.2d 928,931-32 (Tex. App.–Dallas 1984, writ dism’d). Rule 42, like its federal counterpart, is intended to “eliminate or reduce the threat of repetitive litigation,” “preventinconsistent resolution of similar cases,” and “provide an effective means of redress for individuals whose claims are toosmall to make it economically viable to pursue them in independent actions.” See The American Law Institute, Report:Preliminary Study of Complex Litigation 35 (1987). When properly used, the class action device “‘saves the resources ofboth the courts and the parties by permitting an issue potentially affecting every class member to be litigated in aneconomical fashion.’” Falcon, 457 U.S. at 155 (quoting Yamasaki, 442 U.S. at 701) (alterations omitted). Even though it is an efficient device, there is no right to litigate a claim as a class action. “Rather, rule 42 provides only thatthe court may certify a class action if the plaintiff satisfies the requirements of the rule.” Weatherly, 905 S.W.2d at 647(emphasis in original). Rule 42(a) establishes four initial prerequisites to class certification: numerosity, commonality,typicality, and adequacy of representation. Moreover, a proposed class action must satisfy at least one of the subdivisionsof Rule 42(b), which are: (1)the prosecution of separate actions by or against individual members would create a risk of (A) inconsistent or varying adjudications with respect to individual members of the class which would establish incompatible standards of conduct for the party opposing the class, or (B) adjudications with respect to individual members of the class which would as a practical matter be dispositive of the interests of the other members not parties to the adjudications or substantially impair or impede their ability to protect their interests; or (2) the party opposing the class has acted or refused to act on grounds generally applicable to the class, thereby making appropriate final injunctive relief or corresponding declaratory relief with respect to the class as a whole; or (3) where the object of the action is the adjudication of claims which do or may affect specific property involved in the action; or (4) the court finds that the questions of law or fact common to the members of the class predominate over any questions affecting only individual members, and that a class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy. . . . Tex. R. Civ. P. 42(b). In this case, Purchasers sought certification of a class under the fourth class action category. A Although not an express requirement, “it is axiomatic that for a class action to be certified a ‘class’ must exist.” Simer v.Rios, 661 F.2d 655, 669 (7th Cir. 1981); accord DeBremaecker v. Short, 433 F.2d 733, 734 (5th Cir. 1970);Intratex Gas Co. v. Beeson, ___ S.W.3d ___, ___ (Tex. 2000); Reserve Life Ins. Co. v. Kirkland, 917 S.W.2d 836,839 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1996, no writ). A properly defined class is essential to the maintenance of a classaction. See Intratex, ___ S.W.3d at ___. A proper class definition determines who is entitled to notice, who is entitled torelief and what relief can be awarded. Id. In addition, the class definition specifies who will be bound by the judgment.Id.; see also Federal Judicial Center, Manual for Complex Litigation 217 (3d ed. 1995) (concluding that the noticerequirement for (b)(4) class actions mandates greater precision for class definitions brought under (b)(4) than for thosebrought under other class action categories). Thus, the failure to adequately define a proposed class implicates dueprocess rights. As a distinguished judge has observed: [W]ithout reasonable specificity the court cannot define the class, cannot determine whether the representation is adequate, and the [defendant] does not know how to defend. And, what may be most significant, an over-broad framing of the class may be so unfair to the absent members as to approach, if not amount to, deprivation of due process. Johnson v. Georgia Highway Express, Inc., 417 F.2d 1122, 1126 (5th Cir. 1969) (Godbold, J., concurring). For aclass to be properly defined, the class members must be clearly ascertainable by reference to objective criteria. SeeIntratex, ___ S.W.3d at ___. While a class definition need not be so specific “that every potential member can beidentified at the commencement of the action,” 7A Wright et Al., Federal Practice & Procedure, � 1760, at 117 (1986);accord Intratex, ___ S.W.3d at ___, a “class should not be defined by criteria that are subjective or that require ananalysis of the merits of the case” because class membership would not be presently ascertainable. Intratex, ___ S.W.3d___. The court of appeals determined that the proposed class certified by the trial court “allow[s] the named plaintiffs toproceed in a class action before showing that a class exists.” 965 S.W.2d at 73. Because a “full trial . . . of some issues[would be necessary] before class membership could be ascertained,” the court modified the class definitions from those”who suffered past and/or future damage as a result of peeling or flaking paint on these vehicles caused by a defectivepaint process” or “who paid Ford or a Ford dealership for a paint repair to their vehicle to repair peeling or flaking paintcaused by a defective paint process” to those “who suffered past and/or future damage as a result of peeling or flakingpaint on these vehicles who allege the peeling or flaking was caused by a defective paint process” and those “who paidFord or a Ford dealership for a paint repair to their vehicle to repair peeling or flaking paint who allege the peeling orflaking was caused by a defective paint process” Id. at 73-74. We agree with the court of appeals that the class defined by the trial court fails to meet Intratex’s clearly-ascertainablerequirement. Including the defect theory as an element of the class definition impermissibly requires a determination of themerits before the court can ensure the existence of a class. See Intratex, ___ S.W.3d at ___ (“[W]hen the classdefinition is framed as a legal conclusion, the trial court has no way of ascertaining whether a given person is a member ofthe class until a determination of ultimate liability as to that person is made.”). Moreover, basing the class definition on adetermination of the merits creates a fail-safe class because if the defendants prevail at trial and Purchasers are unable toprove their theory, then there was never a class to begin with and certification was inappropriate. Id. Therefore, theproposed members of the unsuccessful class would not be bound by the judgment. Clearly, the trial court abused itsdiscretion in defining the class in this manner. Id. But Ford contends that the court of appeals’ class definition is also erroneous. That definition limits the class to thosepersons “who allege” that the peeling was caused by the lack of spray primer. The use of state of mind in a class definition “serves as a shorthand method of alerting the court and the parties that theremight be difficulty in identifying class members.” Simer, 661 F.2d at 670 n.25. When a class is “so highly diverse and sodifficult to identify that it is not adequately defined or nearly ascertainable,” Adashunas v. Negley, 626 F.2d 600, 604(7th Cir. 1980), the class definition will not be sustained. See DeBremaecker, 433 F.2d at 734; see also Wright et al.,7A Federal Practice & Procedure, � 1760, at 123-26 (1986) (“a class defined with reference to the state of mind of itsmembers” renders the class “too amorphous” and will not be allowed to proceed). We need not go so far as to hold thata class definition may never require the trial court to make a subjective inquiry into the claimants’ thought processes. SeeDevelopments in the Law–Class Actions, 89 Harv. L. Rev. 1318, 1478 n.128 (1976) (concluding that the use of stateof mind in class definitions does not render a class unascertainable when identification is possible otherwise). But here,there are no realistic means for the trial court to determine which class members “allege that the peeling or flaking wascaused by a defective paint process.” The trial court would have to inquire individually into each proposed class member’sstate of mind to ascertain class membership under the court of appeals’ class definition. See Forman v. Data Transfer,Inc., 164 F.R.D. 400, 403 (E.D. Pa. 1995) (class definition was untenable because determining class membership wouldrequire mini-hearings); Metcalf v. Edelman, 64 F.R.D. 407, 409-10 (N.D. Ill. 1974) (class definition cannot stand whenit requires individual adjudications to determine membership). Such a monumental task at the outset defeats the benefits ofthe class action. See Reyes v. San Diego County Bd. of Supervisors, 242 Cal. Rptr. 339, 345 (Cal. Ct. App. 987)(“[W]here the administrative cost in identification [of class members] . . . is so substantial to render the likely appreciablebenefits to the class de minimis in comparison, the class action should not be certified.”). Therefore, the court of appeals’definition also fails to satisfy the clearly-ascertainable requirement. B Having found that neither the trial court’s definition nor the court of appeals’ modified definition satisfies the clearlyascertainable requirement, we must now determine whether we should attempt to redefine the class, if that can be done,or remand the case for the trial court to decertify the class. In Intratex, we refused to redefine a class, concluding that”the better course [was] to remand the action to the trial court for it to determine if the definitional problems can beeliminated.” See Intratex, ___ S.W.3d at ___. Like the definition in Intratex, the trial court and the court of appeals’definitions do not lend themselves to appellate redefinition. Therefore, instead of attempting to determine whether theclass can or should be redefined, we remand the case to the trial court to decertify the class. We express no opinionabout whether, if the Purchasers proposed a different definition, the trial court could certify a class that would meet therequisites of Rule 42. Because both the trial court and the court of appeals’ definitions fail to meet theclearly-ascertainable requirement, we reverse the judgment of the court below and remand to the trial court to decertifythe class. Our action is without prejudice to a further attempt by Purchasers to seek certification of a class consistent withthis opinion. THOMAS R. PHILLIPS, Chief Justice Opinion delivered: May 11, 2000 NOTES1. A federal class action purporting to represent consumers in 49 states, excluding Texas, was filed in the Eastern Districtof Louisiana against Ford alleging a similar defect theory. The district court refused to certify the class, determining thatthe action failed to meet the predominance and superiority requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3). SeeIn re Ford Motor Co. Vehicle Paint Litig., 182 F.R.D. 214 (E.D. La. 1998). Purchasers’ proposed definition isdifferent than the class definition used in the federal action. See id. at 216. 2. Section 6.06(g) provides: A writ of error is allowed from the supreme court for an appeal from an interlocutory order described by Section 51.014(3) or 51.014(6), Civil Practice and Remedies Code, in a civil action involving a licensee. The writ of error shall be given precedence by the supreme court over other writs of error. The right to writ of error appeal is without prejudice to the right of any party to seek relief by application for leave to file petition for writ of mandamus with respect to the order. Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art. 4413(36), � 6.06(g). “Licensee” is defined by Section 1.03(20) of the Motor VehicleCommission Code as “a person who holds a license or general distinguishing number issued by the Board under the termsof this Act or Chapter 503, Transportation Code.” Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art. 4413(36), � 1.03(20). A license is requiredin order “to engage in business as . . . a dealer, manufacturer, converter, representative, lessor, or lease facilitator [ofmotor vehicles] in this State or perform or offer to perform repair services on a motor vehicle.” Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art.4413(36), � 4.01(a). 3. We have found no other state where occupational status determines jurisdiction of cases in the state’s highest courtrather than the subject-matter of the controversy. The Texas Legislature, however, has also vested jurisdiction in thisCourt over interlocutory orders denying a summary judgment motion that is based in part “upon a claim against or defenseby a member of the electronic or print media, acting in such capacity, or a person whose communication appears in or ispublished by the electronic or print media, arising under the free speech or free press clause of the First Amendment tothe United States Constitution, or Article 1, Section 8, of the Texas Constitution, or Chapter 73″ of the Texas CivilPractice and Remedies Code. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code � 51.014(6); Tex. Gov’t Code � 22.225(d). 4. The cost of transportation is one of Americans’ most significant annual expenses, second only to housing and sheltercosts. See U.S. Dep’t of Commerce, Statistical Abstract of the United States 465 (1998). American consumers spend anaverage of over $6,000 annually on transportation costs, over $2,000 of which is for the purchase of a vehicle. Id. Onaverage, 19.87% of annual income is spent on transportation, with almost half of that (9.12%) towards the purchase of avehicle. See Ambry, Consumer Power: How Americans Spend their Money 212 (1991). Texans are no exception. In1998, 16,150,654 motor vehicles were registered in the State of Texas. 2000-2001 Texas Almanac 579 (Ramos, ed.1999) DISSENTING OPINON Justice Baker, dissenting. Ford alleges that this Court has jurisdiction over its petition for review because: (1) section 6.06(g) of the Texas MotorVehicle Commission Code gives this Court jurisdiction over class certification decisions involving motor vehicle licenseessuch as Ford; and (2) the court of appeals’ decision in this case conflicts with prior decisions of this Court and othercourts of appeals. I conclude that section 6.06(g) of the Motor Vehicle Commission Code is an unconstitutional speciallaw and that the court of appeals’ decision does not conflict with the prior decisions Ford cites. Accordingly, this Courtshould dismiss Ford’s petition for review for want of jurisdiction. Because it does not do so, I respectfully dissent. I. SECTION 6.06(g) Ford alleges that this Court has jurisdiction under section 6.06(g) of the Texas Motor Vehicle Commission Code. SeeTex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art. 4413(36), � 6.06(g). Although the Purchasers concede that the section vests this Court withjurisdiction, they assert that the section is unconstitutional because it violates the prohibition against special laws. BecauseI agree with the Purchasers that section 6.06(g) is a special law, I would declare it void. Accordingly, it cannot conferjurisdiction. A. Special Law The Texas Constitution prohibits the Legislature from enacting special or local laws when a general law can be madeapplicable. See Tex. Const. art. III, � 56. It also specifically prohibits the Legislature from enacting any local or speciallaw “regulating the practice or jurisdiction of . . . any judicial proceeding or inquiry before courts.” Tex. Const. art. III, �56. A special law impermissibly distinguishes between groups on some basis other than geography. See Texas BollWeevil Erad. Found. v. Lewellen, 952 S.W.2d 454, 465 (Tex. 1997). Section 56′s prohibition of special and local laws was designed to prevent “the granting of special privileges and to securethe uniformity of law throughout the State as far as possible,” and to stop the lawmakers from trading votes for “theadvancement of personal rather than public interest.” Miller v. El Paso County, 150 S.W.2d 1000, 1001 (Tex. 1941).Despite the constitutional prohibition on special and local laws, courts have recognized that the Legislature can makeclassifications for legislative purposes. See Maple Run Mun. Util. Dist. v. Monaghan, 931 S.W.2d 941, 945. But suchclassification must have a reasonable basis, that is, it must be “based upon a reasonable and substantial difference in kind,situation, or circumstance bearing a proper relation to the [statute's] purpose.” Rodriguez v. Gonzales, 227 S.W.2d 791,793 (Tex. 1950). In other words, the defined class must be “substantial” and have “characteristics legitimatelydistinguishing it from the rest of the State so as to require legislation peculiar thereto.” Miller, 150 S.W.2d at 1002; seealso Smith v. Decker, 312 S.W.2d 632, 636 (Tex. 1958) (classification must have a foundation in difference ofsituation). B. Analysis Generally, a party challenging a trial court’s class certification decision is allowed interlocutory review of that decision onlyto the courts of appeals. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code � 51.014(3). This Court does not have jurisdiction to reviewthe court of appeals’ judgment unless there is a dissent in the court of appeals’ opinion or the court of appeals’ decisionconflicts with a decision of this Court or another court of appeals. See Tex. Gov’t Code �� 22.225(b)(5),(c);22.001(a)(1),(2). But in 1997, the Legislature enacted section 6.06(g) of the Texas Motor Vehicle Commission Code,which gives the Supreme Court jurisdiction to review interlocutory appeals of class certification decisions, regardless ofdissent or conflict, when a motor vehicle licensee is a party. See Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art. 4413(36), � 6.06(g). Motorvehicle licensees include automobile dealers, manufacturers, converters, representatives, lessors, lease facilitators, andthose who perform or offer to perform repair services on a motor vehicle. See Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art. 4413(36), ��1.03(20), 4.01(a). Thus, section 6.06(g) carves out an exception to the statutory rule for parties that are members of anyof the above categories. Section 6.06(g)’s classification is broad enough to include a numerically substantial class, butbecause the classification has no reasonable basis, it is an unconstitutional special law. There is nothing in section 6.06(g), its sparse legislative history, or the parties’ arguments that hint at a reasonable basis forproviding Supreme Court review of interlocutory class certification decisions involving motor vehicle licensees and notproviding it for any other class litigant. Nor can I conceive of a reasonable basis. Any difference between classcertification decisions involving motor vehicle licensees and decisions involving insurance companies, computercompanies, oil companies, tax preparers, hospitals, credit card companies, investment companies, accounting firms, andany entity providing important consumer goods and services does not warrant an exclusive right to Supreme Courtreview. There is nothing unique about 6.06(g) cases other than the presence of a motor vehicle licensee. That presencemakes no difference in class certification decisions, and therefore, should not make a difference in the appellate reviewavailable. Although class certification is a fact-intensive inquiry, the class certification requirements are the same regardless of theunderlying subject matter or the parties’ identities. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 42. Professor Newburg makes this point whilediscussing the different categories of tort class actions. See Newburg, Newburg on Class Actions � 17.06 (1992). Hepoints out that class treatment will depend chiefly on applying the class certification requirements rather than on whetherthe suit is a mass accident, toxic tort, or products liability case. See Newburg, Newburg on Class Actions � 17.06(1992). Review of class certification also depends on applying the class certification requirements, rather than the subjectmatter or parties involved. Nothing about a motor vehicle licencee’s presence in a class affects whether the class isproper. In Miller, this Court invalidated a statute analogous to the one at issue here. See Miller, 150 S.W.2d at 1002-03. InMiller, the statute provided an economic development tax only in counties meeting certain population requirements. SeeMiller, 150 S.W.2d at 1002-03. When the Legislature enacted the statute, the statute applied only to El Paso County.See Miller, 150 S.W.2d at 1002. The Court held that the statute’s classification not only lacked a reasonable basismaterial to the statute’s purpose, but the class of counties it created was not distinct in any substantial manner from anyother counties in the State. See Miller, 150 S.W.2d at 1002. Similarly, in Rodriguez v. Gonzales, this Court struck down an act that set out special procedures for collectingdelinquent taxes. See Rodriguez, 227 S.W.2d at 794. The act only applied to parcels of land greater than 1,000 acresthat were situated in counties bordering Mexico and whose title emanated from the King of Spain. See Rodriguez, 227S.W.2d at 794. This Court held that there was nothing special about these estates that warranted different treatment fortax collection purposes. See Rodriguez, 227 S.W.2d at 794 (“There is no substantial difference in the situation orcircumstance of border counties relating to suits for delinquent taxes upon which to base the classification.”). The Court holds that section 6.06(g) is not a special law but a general law because many consumers spend a lot of moneyon automobiles. ___ S.W.3d ___, ___. In doing so, the Court pays only lip service to the reasonable basis test andinstead cites Commerce Department statistics and the Texas Almanac to show that class certification decisions involvingmotor vehicle licensees affect many citizens. But this Court has made clear that “the primary and ultimate test of whether alaw is general or special is whether there is a reasonable basis for the classification made by the law, and whether the lawoperates equally on all within the class.” Maple Run, 931 S.W.2d at 945. “The significance of the subject matter and thenumber of persons affected by the legislation are merely factors, albeit important ones, in determining reasonableness.”Maple Run, 931 S.W.2d at 947. Further, even if the significance of an automobile purchase distinguishes that purchasefrom other consumer transactions, the significance of that purchase has nothing to do with the decision to certify ordecertify a class. As the Court concedes, no other jurisdiction has a law like section 6.06(g) and with good reason — it is implausible,much less reasonable. Section 6.06(g) lacks any reasonable basis for its classification, including any substantial differencein kind, situation, or circumstances bearing a proper relation to the statute’s purpose — despite the Court’s hollow attemptto manufacture one. See Rodriguez, 227 S.W.2d at 793. By holding that section 6.06(g) is not a special law, the Courtmocks the Constitutional prohibition of special laws and undermines our special law jurisprudence. In any event, we allknow what is going on here! II. CONFLICTS JURISDICTION Ford also asserts that, regardless of section 6.06(g), this Court has jurisdiction over its petition for review because thecourt of appeals’ decision conflicts with other cases on four issues: (1) whether questions of law or fact can be common ina class action when the jury might answer them differently for each class member; (2) whether common issuespredominate when individualized trials are required to resolve claimant-specific liability issues, defenses, and damages; (3)whether liability and damages can be tried separately in a single cause of action; and (4) whether a proposed class mustbe defined so that it is administratively feasible at the outset to determine if an individual is a class member. I do notbelieve that this case meets the standard for conflicts jurisdiction. A. Applicable Law In the absence of a dissent or conflict, an appeal of an interlocutory class certification order is final in the court of appeals.See Tex. Gov’t Code � 22.225(b)(3); Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code � 51.014(3). It is very difficult for a party toestablish conflicts jurisdiction. See Gonzalez v. Avalos, 907 S.W.2d 443, 444 (Tex. 1995). To establish conflictsjurisdiction, a party must show that “the conflict is on the very question of law actually involved and determined . . . inboth cases.” Christy v. Williams, 298 S.W.2d 565, 567 (Tex. 1957). The test is whether one case would overrule theother if the same court rendered both decisions. See Coastal Corp. v. Garza, 979 S.W.2d 318, 319-20 (Tex. 1998).Furthermore, “cases do not conflict if a material factual difference distinguishes their holdings.” Coastal Corp., 979S.W.2d at 320. But this standard does not require identical facts for two cases to conflict. See Coastal Corp., 979S.W.2d at 320. The conflict must involve the court’s conclusion, not merely the reasoning by which the court reached theconclusion. See Coultress v. City of San Antonio, 179 S.W. 515, 516 (Tex. 1915). Conflicts analysis does not require determining whether the courts of appeals’ decisions were correctly decided, but onlydetermining whether a conflict exists that meets conflicts jurisdiction requirements. B. Analysis Ford first asserts that this case conflicts with RSR and Wente on the issue of whether questions of law or fact can becommon under Rule 42(a)(2) of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure when a jury might answer them differently for eachclass member. See RSR Corp. v. Hayes, 673 S.W.2d 928, 932-33 (Tex. App.–Dallas 1984, writ dism’d w.o.j.);Wente v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., 712 S.W.2d 253, 257 (Tex. App.–Austin 1986, no writ). Under Rule 42(a)(2), atrial court must find that there are questions of law or fact common to the class as a prerequisite to a class action. SeeTex. R. Civ. P. 42(b)(2). In RSR, the Fifth Court of Appeals decertified a class because common questions did not predominate over individualissues. See RSR, 673 S.W.2d at 933. Residential property owners had sued the owners of a lead smelter, claiming thatairborne lead emissions caused personal injury and property damage. See RSR, 673 S.W.2d at 929. The owners allegeda variety of damages and several theories of liability. See RSR, 673 S.W.2d at 932-33. The trial court certified a classthat included all property owners living within a two-mile radius from the smelter. See RSR, 673 S.W.2d at 929. Thecourt of appeals reversed, holding that common issues did not predominate because some owners did not suffer anyinjury, the personal injuries alleged differed for each class member, and because the owners had asserted various theoriesof liability that could be answered differently among class members. See RSR, 673 S.W.2d at 932-33. Here, the court of appeals held that four questions were common to the class: (1) whether the paint process wasdefective because it lacks spray primer; (2) whether Ford knew of the defect; (3) whether Ford had a duty to disclosethe defect; and (4) how the discovery rule applied. The court distinguished RSR by noting that the RSR class was muchbroader because it included various types of injuries and included all landowners without regard to whether lead was ontheir land. Here, the class members allege one type of damage and the class only includes cars that had peeling paint. I do not agree with Ford that the alleged conflict between RSR and the court of appeals’ opinion in this case meets thestandards for conflicts jurisdiction. First, Ford alleges this case conflicts on whether issues are common to the class underRule 42(a)(2). But the actual question considered and decided in RSR was whether common issues predominated underRule 42(b)(4). In short, the courts of appeals in RSR and in this case did not hold differently on the same question of law.See Coastal Corp., 979 S.W.2d at 322. Furthermore, the RSR parties asserted numerous causes of action. Here, theparties assert only one. Additionally, RSR involved certification of personal injury claims in addition to property claims.See RSR, 673 S.W.2d at 932. This Court has noted that courts should distinguish personal injury mass tort actions fromproperty damage class actions. See Coastal Corp., 979 S.W.2d at 321. Finally, there was undisputed evidence in RSRthat 70% of the class members within the defined geographic area did not have hazardous levels of lead on their land. SeeRSR, 673 S.W.2d at 931. Here, the court of appeals limited the class to people whose cars had peeling paint. For thesereasons, we do not have conflicts jurisdiction in this case based on RSR. Conflicts jurisdiction in this Court does not arise if the alleged conflict is between two decisions of the same court ofappeals. See Tex. Gov’t Code � 22.225(c); see also Dixon v. Southwestern Bell Tel. Co., 607 S.W.2d 240, 241(Tex. 1980). I therefore do not need to analyze the alleged conflict between Wente and this case because the same courtof appeals issued both opinions. Second, Ford asserts that the court of appeals decision conflicts with three other cases on the issue of whether commonissues predominate under Rule 42(b)(4) when individualized trials are required to resolve claimant-specific liability issues,defenses, and damages. See E & V Slack, Inc. v. Shell Oil Co., 969 S.W.2d 565 (Tex. App.–Austin 1998, no pet.);Remington Arms Co. v. Luna, 966 S.W.2d 641 (Tex. App.–San Antonio 1998, no pet.); Life Ins. Co. v. Brister,722 S.W.2d 764 (Tex. App.–San Antonio 1986, no writ). I need not consider Slack to determine whether conflicts jurisdiction exists because the same court of appeals decidedSlack and this case. See Tex. Gov’t Code � 22.225(c); see also Dixon, 607 S.W.2d at 241. In Luna, the Fourth Court of Appeals reversed a class certification because it determined that a class action was not asuperior method of resolving the controversy. See Luna, 966 S.W.2d at 642. The court considered only the part of Rule42(b)(4) providing that a class action must be the superior method of resolving the controversy and expressly refused toconsider the issue of whether common questions predominated over individual questions. See Luna, 966 S.W.2d at 644;Tex. R. Civ. P. 42(b)(4). Ford alleges that this case conflicts with Luna on whether common questions predominate. Butbecause the Luna court expressly refused to consider it, there can be no conflict on that question. See Coultress, 179S.W. at 516. In Brister, the Fourth Court of Appeals upheld a trial court’s certification of a class of employees who alleged that theydid not receive disability benefits as promised. See Brister, 722 S.W.2d at 767. The class members alleged breach ofcontract and misrepresentation based on an employer’s written statements in an Employee Benefit Plan. See Brister, 722S.W.2d at 767. The court had to consider whether common issues predominated in the unique context of amisrepresentation case. See Brister, 722 S.W.2d at 774. The court noted that in consumer actions where the allegedmisrepresentations vary with each transaction, individual issues would likely predominate and a class action would not beproper. See Brister, 722 S.W.2d at 774. The court held that the test for whether common questions predominate is notwhether common questions outnumber the individual ones, but instead whether common issues will be the object of mostof the litigants’ and court’s efforts. See Brister, 722 S.W.2d at 772. Finally, the court stated that a judgment for the classshould settle the controversy except for the individual members providing proof of their claim. See Brister, 722 S.W.2dat 772. The court upheld the class certification, holding that common issues predominated because a single, uniformmisrepresentation was alleged. See Brister, 722 S.W.2d at 774. I do not find that the alleged conflicts between Brister and this case afford this Court conflicts jurisdiction. Importantly,this case involves property damage claims while Brister involved a cause of action with several elements that focused onindividual, not group, determinations. See Brister, 722 S.W.2d at 774. Further, the court in Brister and the court ofappeals in this case agree that the test of whether common issues predominate is whether common or individual issues willbe the object of litigant’s efforts rather than the number of common or individual issues. See Brister, 722 S.W.2d at 772;Sheldon, 722 S.W.2d at 72. Ford does not point to any conflict between Brister and this case that meets the standardfor conflicts jurisdiction. Third, Ford alleges that the court of appeals’ opinion conflicts with prior cases holding that liability and damages cannotbe tried separately when they are indivisible elements of a single cause of action. See Otis Elevator Co. v. Bedre, 776S.W.2d 152 (Tex. 1989) (per curiam); Eubanks v. Winn, 420 S.W.2d 698 (Tex. 1967); Iley v. Hughes; 311 S.W.2d648 (Tex. 1958); Greater Houston Transp. Co. v. Zrubeck, 850 S.W.2d 579 (Tex. App.–Corpus Christi 1993, writdenied). These cases also do not meet the standard necessary to give this Court conflicts jurisdiction. In Otis Elevator, this Court held in a personal injury case that a court could not remand the issue of one party’snegligence while refusing to also remand the question of whether another party was contributorily negligent. See OtisElevator, 776 S.W.2d at 153. Partial remand is only permissible where the issues are severable. See Otis Elevator, 776S.W.2d at 153. Similarly, in Iley, this Court held that liability and damages issues could not be tried separately in apersonal injury case. See Iley, 311 S.W.2d at 651. Likewise, Eubanks expresses Texas courts’ aversion to piecemealtrials. See Eubanks, 420 S.W.2d at 701 (holding that a court could not grant a new trial on liability, allow the defendantto confess liability, and then award damages under the original verdict because that severed contested issues of liabilityand damages in a personal injury case). This case differs from Iley, Otis Elevators, and Eubanks in several key aspects. Most importantly, this case is aproperty damage case but all the cases Ford cites are personal injury cases. Courts and commentators have recognizedthat special considerations exist when juries consider liability and damages separately in a personal injury case. See Iley,311 S.W.2d at 650-51; see also 9 Charles Allen Wright, et al., Federal Practice and Procedure � 2390, at 508 (1995).Futhermore, here the court of appeals did not find that the trial court had entirely separated liability and damages becausethe certification order did not mention bifurcating the trial. See 965 S.W.2d at 68 n.2. Rather, the court of appealsassumed, and the parties agreed, that some bifurcation would be necessary in this class action. See 965 S.W.2d at 68n.2. The court of appeals decided that the individual trials would likely include aspects of liability and damages together sothe bifurcation would be permissible. See 965 S.W.2d at 69. This decision does not deal directly with the types ofbifurcation considered in Iley, Eubanks, and Otis Elevators. Because of these differences, Ford cannot demonstrate a”well-defined” and direct conflict between this case and Iley, Eubanks, or Otis Elevators to establish conflictsjurisdiction. See Coultress, 179 S.W. at 516-17. The Zrubeck case simply does not consider the same issue as this case; therefore, no conflict exists between the two. SeeCoastal Corp., 979 S.W.2d at 319-20. In Zrubeck, the trial court bifurcated the exemplary damages part of a personalinjury case. See Zrubeck, 850 S.W.2d at 581. Eleven jurors found the defendant negligent and awarded actual damages.See Zrubeck, 850 S.W.2d at 584. In the second part of the trial, ten jurors, including the one who voted against liabilityin the first phase, found exemplary damages. See Zrubeck, 850 S.W.2d at 581. The court of appeals held that thedefendant failed to preserve error on that issue. See Zrubeck, 850 S.W.2d at 581. In dicta, the court commented thatbecause this was a “separate” trial, the same ten jurors did not have to agree on liability and damages. See Zrubeck, 850S.W.2d at 581. No party raised that issue here. Finally, Ford states that the court of appeals’ decision conflicts withReserve Life Insurance Co. v. Kirkland on whether a proposed class must be defined so that it is administrativelyfeasible, at the proceeding’s outset, for the trial court to determine whether a particular individual is a class member. SeeReserve Life Ins. Co. v. Kirkland, 917 S.W.2d 836, 840 (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 1996, no writ). In Kirkland, the court defined class members as persons who purchased a major medical policy in Texas from thedefendant corporation. See Kirkland, 917 S.W.2d at 840. The corporation argued that the definition was too vague todetermine whether an individual was a class member. See Kirkland, 917 S.W.2d at 840. The court of appeals disagreedand held that the class definition did not contain vague terms. See Kirkland, 917 S.W.2d at 840. Rather, classmembership could be easily ascertained through company records. See Kirkland, 917 S.W.2d at 840. The court notedin dicta that class definitions in other cases were vague because the definitions contained terms relating to the plaintiff’sstate of mind. See Kirkland, 917 S.W.2d at 840. The Kirkland definition did not contain state-of-mind terms nor wasthat material to the court’s holding. See Kirkland, 917 S.W.2d at 840. Any statements in Kirkland about the plaintiff’s state of mind were dicta, and conflicts jurisdiction does not arise fromstatements that were immaterial to the court’s holding. See Benson v. Jones, 296 S.W. 865, 867 (Tex. 1927). Thus,Ford cannot show that the differences between this case and Kirkland satisfy the standard for conflicts jurisdiction. Because none of the cases Ford cites conflict with the court of appeals’ decision here, I conclude that this Court does nothave conflicts jurisdiction over Ford’s petition for review. IV. CONCLUSION I would hold that section 6.06(g) is an unconstitutional special law. I would also hold that the court of appeals’ opiniondoes not conflict with any opinions Ford cites in alleging conflicts jurisdiction. Accordingly, I would conclude that theCourt is without jurisdiction to consider the merits of this petition. Because the Court concludes otherwise, I dissent. JAMES A. BAKER, Justice Opinion Delivered: May 11, 2000
Ford Motor Co., et al. v. Sheldon, et al. IN THE SUPREME COURT OF TEXAS No. 98-0539 FORD MOTOR COMPANY, LEIF JOHNSON FORD, INC. AND FRED CAPDEVIELLE, Petitioners v. BARRY SHELDON, MATTHEW RUETER, MARGARET DUNAYER, JOHN PORTER, WILLIAMDOBBS, JAMES BEASLEY AND B. J. SANDERS, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHERSSIMILARLY SITUATED, Respondents On Petition for Review from the Court of Appeals for the Third District of Texas Argued February 9, 1999 Chief Justice Phillips delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Justice Hecht, Justice Enoch, Justice Owen, JusticeAbbott, Justice Hankinson, Justice O’Neill, and Justice Gonzales joined. Justice Baker filed a dissenting opinion.
 
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