Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
appeal from the County Court at Law No. 2 of Cameron County,
Justices Contreras, Benavides, and Longoria Memorandum
Opinion by Justice Benavides
M. BENAVIDES, JUSTICE.
an interlocutory appeal from an order denying a plea to the
jurisdiction filed by appellant Texas Southmost College
(TSC), a/k/a Texas Southmost College District. By its sole
issue, TSC asserts the trial court erred in denying the plea.
We reverse and remand.
fall of 2013, TSC contacted appellee Flores Investments,
Inc., a/k/a American Investigations and Security
International (Flores) about an immediate need for security
officers. TSC and Flores entered into a contract on November
1, 2013 for a term of 303 days, ending on August 31, 2014.
The contract contained a provision stating that the contract
would automatically renew until it was terminated by written
notice thirty days before the end of the term.
contract between TSC and Flores renewed on August 31, 2014,
and again on June 30, 2015, with a specific ending date of
April 28, 2016, for a term of 303 days. According to
Flores's petition, it received information that TSC had
put out a notice for bids in June of 2015 and another
security contract was awarded to American Surveillance
contends that TSC continued to utilize its security services
until October 2015, when Flores received notice that TSC would
cease using its services within thirty days. Despite this
alleged notice, TSC requested security services from Flores
through written requests,  although in a lesser capacity, up until
December 11, 2015, when Flores received an e-mail from Randy
Paredes, the security representative of TSC, stating that
December 11, 2015 was the last working day for Flores.
Flores's security services were not utilized after
December 11, 2015.
sent Flores a letter terminating the contract prior to the
renewal of the next term. Flores filed suit against TSC
alleging a breach of the contract terms and requesting $316,
076.47 in damages. Flores claimed there was a "balance
due and owed" for money it "would have
received" under the contract from December 2015 through
April 2016 had TSC not breached the contract. TSC responded
by denying Flores's allegations and filed a plea to the
jurisdiction alleging it had sovereign immunity because
Flores did not plead a cause of action that would waive
immunity. The trial court denied TSC's plea to the
jurisdiction. This interlocutory appeal followed.
Plea to the Jurisdiction
issue, TSC alleges the trial court improperly denied its plea
to the jurisdiction. TSC claims that Flores did not allege a
cause of action that falls under a waiver of sovereign
Standard of Review
to the jurisdiction is a dilatory plea; its purpose is
"to defeat a cause of action without regard to whether
the claims asserted have merit." Bland Indep. Sch.
Dist. v. Blue, 34 S.W.3d 547, 554 (Tex. 2000). The plea
challenges the trial court's subject matter jurisdiction
over a pleaded cause of action. Tex. Dep't of Parks
& Wildlife v. Miranda, 133 S.W.3d 217, 226 (Tex.
2004); Cameron County, Tex. v. Ortega, 291 S.W.3d
495, 497 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi 2009, no pet.).
matter jurisdiction is a question of law; therefore, we
review the trial court's ruling on a plea to the
jurisdiction de novo. See Miranda, 133 S.W.3d at
228. Whether undisputed evidence of jurisdictional facts
establishes a trial court's jurisdiction is also a
question of law. Miranda, 133 S.W.3d at 226.
However, disputed evidence of jurisdictional facts that also
implicate the merits of the case may require resolution by
the finder of fact. Id. When a plea to the
jurisdiction challenges the pleadings, we determine if the
pleader has alleged facts that affirmatively demonstrate the
court's jurisdiction to hear the case. Id.
plaintiff bears the burden of alleging facts that
affirmatively demonstrate the trial court's jurisdiction.
Tex. Dep't of Transp. v. Ramirez,74 S.W.3d 864,
867 (Tex. 2002); State of Tex. Parks & Wildlife
Dep't. v. Morris,129 S.W.3d 804, 807 (Tex.
App.-Corpus Christi 2004, no pet.). In deciding a plea to the
jurisdiction, a court may not weigh the merits of the causes
of action, but must consider only the plaintiff's
pleadings and any evidence in the record pertinent to the
jurisdictional inquiry. County of Cameron v. Brown,80 S.W.3d 549, 555 (Tex. 2002); City of Laredo v.
Nuno,94 S.W.3d 786, 788 (Tex. App.- San Antonio 2002,
no pet.). The appellate court must examine the pleader's
intent and construe the pleading in the plaintiff's
favor. Brown, 80 S.W.3d at 555; Ramirez, 74
S.W.3d at 867. However, a plea to ...