Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the 407th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2017CI12781 Honorable Karen H. Pozza, Judge
Sitting: Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice, Marialyn
Barnard, Justice Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice
Bryan Marion, Chief Justice
an accelerated appeal from the trial court's order
denying Appellant San Antonio Independent School
District's ("SAISD") plea to the jurisdiction
based on governmental immunity. Because we conclude SAISD is
immune from Appellee Maria Hale's ("Hale")
claim, we reverse the trial court's denial of SAISD's
plea to the jurisdiction and render judgment dismissing
Hale's claim against SAISD for want of jurisdiction.
minor son, B.J.H., was injured while riding a school bus
owned and operated by SAISD. While the school bus was in
motion, B.J.H. fell out of the school bus's rear exit
door and landed on his head, sustaining severe injuries,
including a traumatic brain injury. Hale alleges the accident
was caused by a defect in the rear exit door's latching
mechanism that caused the door to open while the school bus
was in motion.
sued the designers and manufacturers of the school bus and
the latch mechanism, asserting claims for products liability,
negligence, misrepresentation, and breach of warranty. Hale
also asserted a claim against SAISD for negligence "in
failing to maintain an acceptable latch mechanism for the bus
and in delivering it over to the SAISD bus driver to operate
and transport children in that negligently maintained
filed a plea to the jurisdiction based on governmental
immunity. After a hearing, the trial court denied the plea to
the jurisdiction, and SAISD filed this accelerated appeal.
Standard of review
unit of state government is immune from suit and liability
unless the state consents." Dallas Area Rapid
Transit v. Whitley, 104 S.W.3d 540, 542 (Tex. 2003). A
plea to the jurisdiction based on governmental immunity
challenges the trial court's subject matter jurisdiction.
Tex. Dep't of Parks & Wildlife v. Miranda,
133 S.W.3d 217, 225-26 (Tex. 2004). Whether the plaintiff has
pleaded facts affirmatively demonstrating the trial
court's subject matter jurisdiction is a question of law
we review de novo. Id. at 226. We construe the
pleadings "liberally in favor of the plaintiff and
look to the pleader['s] intent." Id.
B. Waiver of governmental immunity
alleges SAISD's governmental immunity is waived under
section 101.021 of the Texas Tort Claims Act
("TTCA"). See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem.
Code Ann. § 101.021 (West 2011). Section 101.021
expressly waives governmental immunity from claims for injury
arising from a ...