Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
appeal from the County Court at Law No. 1 of Hidalgo County,
Justices Rodriguez, Contreras, and Hinojosa.
V. RODRIGUEZ, JUSTICE.
City of Weslaco appeals the denial of its plea to the
jurisdiction. By one issue, the City asserts that appellees
Raquel and Roberto Trejo failed to establish a valid waiver
of the City's governmental immunity, and dismissal is
therefore required. We reverse and remand.
purposes of this appeal, all relevant background facts are
drawn from the allegations in the Trejos' live petition.
In 1997, the Trejos purchased a plot of undeveloped land in
Hidalgo County. In 1998, the Trejos began preliminary work on
a plan to develop the land. The City approved the plan in
2005, and the Trejos began work on what would become the
Trejos hired Rio Delta Engineering to develop plans and
designs for the subdivision's infrastructure. Before lots
could be sold, essential services such as water and sewer
would have to be designed, built, and approved by the City.
Rio Delta agreed to provide those services for a fee, which
the Trejos paid.
Delta had another client nearby, the Apostolic Church, which
was planning to build a facility near the Northcross
Subdivision. The City elected to combine the sewer and water
plans for both projects.
City approved the plans for the Northcross Subdivision in
October of 2005. However, the Church's plans were not
completed until 2007. The City began work on the sewer
connection in March of 2007. The Trejos alleged that the
sewer should have been completed in six months.
the Trejos continued development on the subdivision. The
Trejos obtained a series of loans with Falcon National Bank
in 2007 to finance the project. The notes were due to be
repaid in January 2009.
of lots in the Northcross Subdivision began in 2008. By June
2008, five lots had been sold, subject to the recording of
the subdivision with the City.
the Trejos alleged that "recording was held up because
of the lack of completion of the long delayed sewer line. All
other tasks required were completed by March of 2008."
While the Trejos awaited the completion of the sewer line,
Falcon Bank initiated foreclosure on their loans.
Trejos filed suit alleging that the City was negligent in
managing the sewer construction project, which "involved
the use of motorized vehicles." Specifically, the Trejos
alleged that the City was negligent in:
(1) using backhoes, bulldozers, and other motorized equipment
including sewer lift stations, and pumps, to build and
complete a sewerage system that was negligently constructed,
incapable of carrying the foreseeable volumes, too shallow,
and at an improper gradient, and further, to ...