Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
TIMOTHY D. RAUB AND RAUB LAW FIRM, P.C., Appellants,
GATE GUARD SERVICES, L.P., SIDNEY L. SMITH, AND ASSOCIATION CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellees.
appeal from the County Court at Law No. 1 of Nueces County,
Chief Justice Valdez and Justices Rodriguez and Hinojosa
Rogelio Valdez Chief Justice
Timothy D. Raub and Raub Law Firm, P.C. (collectively
"Raub"), appeal the trial court's grant of a
plea to the jurisdiction in favor of appellees, Gate Guard
Services, L.P., Sidney L. Smith, and Association Casualty
Insurance Company (collectively "Gate Guard"). By
one issue, Raub contends it had standing. We affirm.
Craft entered into a contract with Raub to represent her
after she received injuries in a car accident in April 2011.
Craft was a passenger in a car driven by Kristilyn Carlock
that collided with a vehicle driven by Smith, who was in the
course and scope of his employment with Gate Guard Services.
In July 2011, Craft terminated her contract with Raub and
hired another attorney to represent her in this cause.
Craft's new attorney filed suit against Gate Guard on
October 17, 2011.
February 27, 2013, Raub intervened in Craft's suit
against Gate Guard asserting an interest in Craft's
lawsuit. Raub argued it was entitled to contractually
assigned attorneys' fees and reimbursement of the
expenses Raub had incurred in Craft's case before she
fired Raub. Raub claimed "an interest in and a lien on
'any money derived as a result of settlement or final
judgment obtained in this case and cause.'"
August 2013, Gate Guard agreed to mediate Craft's claims.
Raub was not notified of the mediation and did not
participate. After mediation, Gate Guard settled with Craft
who agreed to accept $350, 000 in exchange for the release of
her claims. Craft also agreed to indemnify Gate Guard against
any future lawsuits brought by Raub. The trial court signed a
final judgment memorializing the settlement agreement.
However, Raub was not notified of the final judgment.
sued Gate Guard when Raub discovered that Craft had settled
with Gate Guard. In addition, Raub sought a declaratory
judgment on the validity of Raub's contract with Craft
and a declaration of its rights under that contract. Gate
Guard filed a plea to the jurisdiction seeking dismissal of
Raub's claims, arguing that Raub lacked standing to sue.
Relying on a case from this Court, Berry v. Nueces
County, Gate Guard argued that Raub's claims were
derivative of Craft's claims, and therefore Raub's
cause of action should have been brought against Craft. No.
13-05-383-CV, 2006 WL 1280901, at *3 (Tex. App.- Corpus
Christi May 11, 2006, pet. denied) (mem. op.). After a
hearing, the trial court granted Gate Guard's plea and
dismissed Raub's suit. This appeal followed.
Standard of Review and Applicable Law
review a plea to the jurisdiction under a de novo standard of
review. Westbrook v. Penley, 231 S.W.3d
389, 394 (Tex. 2007). A plea to the jurisdiction seeks to
dismiss a case for want of jurisdiction. Tex. Dep't
of Parks & Wildlife v. Miranda, 133 S.W.3d 217,
226-27 (Tex. 2004).
A plea to the jurisdiction is a dilatory plea, the purpose of
which is to defeat a cause of action without regard to
whether the claims asserted have merit. The claims may form
the context in which a dilatory plea is raised, but the plea
should be decided without delving into the merits of the
case. The purpose of a dilatory plea is not to force the
plaintiffs to preview their case on the merits but to
establish a reason why the merits of the plaintiffs'
claims should never be reached.
Bland Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Blue, 34 S.W.3d 547, 554
(Tex. 2000) (internal citations omitted).
is a necessary element of subject-matter jurisdiction.
Berry, 2006 WL 1280901, at *2. To establish
standing, a party asserting a claim must show a justiciable
interest by alleging an actual or imminent threat of injury
peculiar to one's circumstances. Id. Thus, in
order to have standing Raub must demonstrate that a personal
justiciable interest is at stake. See id. When an
attorney has been discharged by his client before the
representation is completed, the attorney may sue the client
for breach of contract and collect the amount of his
compensation. Mandell & Wright v. Thomas, 441
S.W.2d 841, 847 (Tex. 1969); see also Berry, 2006 WL
1280901, at *2. Moreover, because the attorney-client
relationship is one of contract and the attorney's rights
are wholly derivative from those of his ...