Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Texas v. Herrera

Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg

March 30, 2017

HIDALGO COUNTY, TEXAS, Appellant,
v.
DORA HERRERA, INDIVIDUALLY, AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF REYNALDO HERRERA, DECEASED, ERIC HERRERA, EFREN HERRERA, MICHAEL HERRERA, JESSICA HERRERA RODRIGUEZ, CELIA HERRERA, VANESSA HERRERA, VERONICA HERRERA RODRIGUEZ HERRERA, AND REY HERRERA, Appellees.

         On appeal from the 370th District Court of Hidalgo County, Texas.

          Before Chief Justice Valdez and Justices Rodriguez and Benavides

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ROGELIO VALDEZ Chief Justice

         Appellant, Hidalgo County (the County), appeals from the trial court's denial of its plea to the jurisdiction. Appellees, Dora Herrera, Individually, and as Representative of the Estate of Reynaldo Herrera, deceased, Eric Herrera, Efren Herrera, Michael Herrera, Jessica Herrera Rodriguez, Celia Herrera, Vanessa Herrera, Veronica Herrera Rodriguez Herrera, and Rey Herrera, sued the County under the Texas Tort Claims Act for negligence in causing the death of Reynaldo Herrera. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 101.021(1)(A) (West, Westlaw through 2015 R.S.). By four issues, the County contends that the trial court erred in denying its plea to the jurisdiction based on government immunity. We reverse and render.

         I. Background

         On May 26, 2010, a police officer with the city of Pharr, Emilio Gonzalez, attempted to conduct a traffic stop of a Ford Expedition for a violation of the Texas Transportation Code. The Expedition, which was driven by Rafael Carro Quintero, failed to stop, and Officer Gonzalez pursued the vehicle into the city of Alamo, Texas. Officers from the County, including Deputy John Ortega, joined the pursuit of the Expedition, which traveled at a high rate of speed.

         Sometime thereafter, Officer Gonzalez disengaged the pursuit at the intersection of Tower and Trenton Roads, but he did not advise the other agencies to disengage the pursuit. While Deputy Ortega pursued the Expedition on a dirt road, the Expedition hit Reynaldo Herrera's vehicle. Herrera passed away as a result of his injuries.

         Appellees filed suit against the County alleging negligence. The trial court denied the County's plea to the jurisdiction. This interlocutory appeal followed.

         II. Discussion

         By its second issue, which is dispositive for purposes of this appeal, the County contends that the trial court erred in denying its plea to the jurisdiction based on its immunity from suit under section 101.055(2) of the Texas Tort Claims Act. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 101.055(2) (West, Westlaw through 2015 R.S.).

         A. Standard of Review

         A plea to the jurisdiction challenges the trial court's jurisdiction over the subject-matter of a claim. See Tex. Dept. of Pub. Safety v. Sparks, 347 S.W.3d 834, 837 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi 2011, no pet.). The government's assertion of immunity is properly brought through a plea to the jurisdiction because it challenges the trial court's subject-matter jurisdiction. Id.

         We review de novo a trial court's ruling on a plea to the jurisdiction alleging government immunity. Id. We assume the truth of the jurisdictional facts alleged in the plaintiff's pleadings unless the defendant-government presents evidence to negate their existence. Id. If the defendant-government provides evidence supporting immunity, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to show that a material fact is in dispute regarding the issue of immunity. Id. If the plaintiff provides evidence raising a fact question on the issue of immunity, then the issue of immunity cannot be decided by the trial court on a plea to the jurisdiction but instead must be taken to the fact-finder for resolution. Id. For this reason, it has been said that the standard for reviewing a plea to the jurisdiction "generally mirrors" that of a traditional motion for summary judgment. See id.; see also Tex. R. Civ. P. 166a(c) (providing that the existence of a genuine material fact issue precludes summary judgment on a claim or affirmative defense).

         B. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.