Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
BEXAR-MEDINA-ATASCOSA COUNTIES WATER CONTROL AND IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1, Appellant/Cross-Appellee
BANDERA COUNTY RIVER AUTHORITY AND GROUNDWATER DISTRICT, Appellee/Cross-Appellant
the 198th Judicial District Court, Bandera County, Texas
Trial Court No. CV-13-351 Honorable M. Rex Emerson, Judge
Sitting: Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice, Karen Angelini,
Justice, Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice
Bryan Marion, Chief Justice
an appeal and cross-appeal from a judgment entered after the
trial court denied Bexar-Medina-Atascosa Counties Water
Control & Improvement District No. 1's
("BMA") plea to the jurisdiction, granted a
declaratory summary judgment in favor of Bandera County River
Authority and Groundwater District ("Bandera Water
District"), but denied Bandera Water District's
request for attorney's fees. One of the issues raised for
the first time on appeal is whether BMA is immune from
Bandera Water District's declaratory judgment claims.
Because we hold BMA is immune from the claims, we reverse the
trial court's judgment. We remand the cause to the trial
court to allow Bandera Water District the opportunity to
amend its pleading in an attempt to cure the jurisdictional
defects in its petition.
Water District sued BMA seeking "a declaratory judgment
that BMA has no jurisdiction in Bandera County to do any of
(1) Inspect private or public water wells;
(2) Enforce any jurisdiction or rules over groundwater or
(3) Investigate any types of alleged water well violations;
(4) Promulgate any rules relating to groundwater; and
(5) Exercise any rights as a water control and improvement
petition, Bandera Water District alleged BMA's
jurisdiction did not extend beyond the boundaries of Bexar,
Medina, and Atascosa Counties; therefore, BMA had no
jurisdiction in Bandera County.
filed a plea to the jurisdiction asserting the trial court
lacked jurisdiction because no justiciable controversy
existed between the parties. Specifically, BMA asserted
Bandera Water District could not show "any of the five
enumerated items for which it seeks declaratory relief have
occurred or are imminent; therefore, there is no justiciable
controversy which is ripe for determination." The trial
court denied the plea.
parties also filed competing motions for summary judgment.
The trial court granted Bandera Water District's motion
and denied BMA's motion. In its order, the trial court
stated the judgment was final "save and except for the
amount of Plaintiff's attorney's fees." After a
subsequent hearing on the attorney's fees issue, the
trial court denied Bandera Water ...