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City of Richardson v. Bowman

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas

June 27, 2018

CITY OF RICHARDSON, Appellant
v.
RUSSELL J. BOWMAN, Appellee

          On Appeal from the 134th Judicial District Court Dallas County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. DC-15-00289

          Before Justices Lang-Miers, Fillmore, and Stoddart

          OPINION

          CRAIG STODDART JUSTICE

         After receiving a notice of violation of the red light camera ordinance, Russell J. Bowman filed suit in district court to enjoin enforcement of the ordinance and for a declaration that the ordinance and enabling statute are unconstitutional. Alternatively, he alleged the City of Richardson failed to comply with the enabling statute when it installed the red light camera at issue. The City filed a partial plea to the jurisdiction and both parties filed motions for summary judgment. The trial court denied the City's partial plea to the jurisdiction and motion for summary judgment and granted Bowman's motion.

         The City appeals arguing (1) Bowman failed to exhaust administrative remedies on the claim for failure to comply with the enabling statute, (2) the City was not required to comply with the provision of the enabling statute cited by Bowman, and (3) the ordinance and enabling statute are constitutional. We conclude Bowman was required to exhaust his administrative remedies regarding compliance with the enabling statute and that the ordinance and enabling statute are constitutional. Accordingly, we vacate the denial of the partial plea to the jurisdiction, reverse the trial court's judgment, and render judgment dismissing Bowman's claim based on non-compliance with the enabling statute for want of jurisdiction and denying Bowman's claim for a declaration that the ordinance and enabling statute are unconstitutional.

         Background

         In 2005, the City entered into a contract with Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc. to install the red light camera system involved in this case. In 2007, the Legislature enacted Chapter 707 of the transportation code authorizing municipalities to adopt red light camera systems. See Tex. Transp. Code Ann. §§ 707.001-.019 (West 2011 & Supp. 2017). Pursuant to this enabling statute, the City adopted a red light camera ordinance on September 10, 2007. Richardson, Tex., Code of Ordinances art. VII, §§ 22.185-.193 [hereinafter Ordinance]. For convenience, we refer to Chapter 707 and the Ordinance collectively as the Camera Laws. The Camera Laws provide that an owner has the right to contest the imposition of a civil penalty in an administrative adjudicative hearing. Tex. Transp. Code Ann. §§ 707.011(c)(10), .014; Ordinance §§ 22-187(c)(10), 22-189. The owner may appeal a finding of liability by the hearing officer to the municipal court for trial de novo. Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 707.016; Ordinance § 22-191.

         On November 12, 2012, a red light camera recorded Bowman's vehicle entering an intersection when the traffic signal was red. According to his summary judgment evidence, Bowman did not know about the violation until December 1, 2014, when he was notified of a registration hold on his vehicle for failing to pay the civil penalty associated with the 2012 violation. Bowman contacted the City and received a notice of the November 12, 2012 violation on December 4, 2014.[1] The notice stated that, as owner of the vehicle, Bowman was responsible for a civil penalty of $75 and a $25 fee for late payment.

         In response, on December 12, 2014, Bowman sent a letter to the City requesting an administrative hearing as authorized by section 707.015 of the transportation code.[2] Bowman requested that the hearing be before a jury and that the hearing officer declare Chapter 707 unconstitutional on several grounds. Bowman also requested the City produce several documents about the red light camera system, including an engineering study for the intersection at issue and reports to a citizens advisory committee.

         Before an administrative hearing was scheduled, Bowman filed this suit for declaratory judgment and an injunction against enforcement of the Ordinance. Bowman sought a declaration that the Camera Laws and government code section 29.003(g) are unconstitutional.[3] See Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 29.003(g) (West Supp. 2017). In the alternative, Bowman alleged the City could not enforce the Ordinance against him because the City failed to comply with subsections 707.003(c) and (e), which require the City to conduct an engineering study and present the study to a citizens advisory committee before installing a red light camera. We refer to the alternative claims as the Compliance Claims.

         The City filed a partial plea to the jurisdiction regarding the Compliance Claims. It argued the trial court did not have jurisdiction over those claims because Bowman failed to exhaust his administrative remedies by raising the claims with the hearing officer. In addition, both parties filed motions for summary judgment. Without specifying the grounds for its decision, the trial court denied the City's partial plea to the jurisdiction and motion for summary judgment, granted Bowman's motion for summary judgment, and rendered judgment that (1) Bowman is not liable for the civil penalty, (2) the City notify the department of motor vehicles to remove the registration hold on Bowman's vehicle, and (3) Bowman recover attorney's fees from the City.

         Standard of Review

         We review the trial court's ruling on a plea to the jurisdiction de novo. Tex. Dep't of Parks & Wildlife v. Miranda, 133 S.W.3d 217, 226 (Tex. 2004). When a plea to the jurisdiction challenges the pleadings, we determine if the pleader has alleged facts affirmatively showing the court's jurisdiction. Id. We construe the pleadings liberally in favor of the plaintiffs and look to the pleader's intent. Id. When the parties submit evidence regarding the jurisdictional question, we consider the evidence under a summary judgment type standard. See id. at 228.

         We review a grant of summary judgment de novo. Exxon Corp. v. Emerald Oil & Gas Co., L.C., 331 S.W.3d 419, 422 (Tex. 2010). A party moving for traditional summary judgment has the burden to prove that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Tex.R.Civ.P. 166a(c); Mann Frankfort Stein & Lipp Advisors, Inc. v. Fielding, 289 S.W.3d 844, 848 (Tex. 2009). "When reviewing a summary judgment, we take as true all evidence favorable to the nonmovant, and we indulge every reasonable inference and resolve any doubts in the nonmovant's favor." Valence Operating Co. v. Dorsett, 164 S.W.3d 656, 661 (Tex. 2005).

         When both parties move for summary judgment, each party bears the burden of establishing it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. City of Garland v. Dallas Morning News, 22 S.W.3d 351, 356 (Tex. 2000). When the trial court grants one motion and denies the other, we review the summary judgment evidence presented by both parties and determine all questions presented. S. Crushed Concrete, LLC v. City of Houston, 398 S.W.3d 676, 678 (Tex. 2013).

         Analysis

         A. Plea to the Jurisdiction

         In its first issue, the City argues Bowman failed to exhaust his administrative remedies relating to the Compliance Claims because the administrative hearing officer has exclusive jurisdiction to determine Bowman's liability for the civil penalty. The City contends that because Bowman did not exhaust these administrative remedies, the trial court did not have jurisdiction to consider Bowman's Compliance Claims and should have granted the partial plea to the jurisdiction. The City argues in its second issue that, if the trial court had jurisdiction over the Compliance Claims, the City was not required to comply with section 707.003 because the contract for the installation of the red light camera system was entered into before the effective date of Chapter 707.

         1. Exclusive Jurisdiction and Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

         The concepts of exclusive jurisdiction and the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies are closely related. When the Legislature expressly or impliedly grants an administrative agency sole authority to make an initial determination in a matter, the agency has exclusive jurisdiction over the matter. Clint Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Marquez, 487 S.W.3d 538, 544 (Tex. 2016); Subaru of Am., Inc. v. David McDavid Nissan, Inc., 84 S.W.3d 212, 221 (Tex. 2002). "[I]f an agency has exclusive jurisdiction, a party must exhaust all administrative remedies before seeking judicial review of the agency's action." Subaru of Am., 84 S.W.3d at 221. This is commonly known as the exhaustion-of-administrative-remedies doctrine. See Marquez, 487 S.W.3d at 544. Until a complaining party has exhausted administrative remedies, the trial court lacks subject matter jurisdiction and must dismiss without prejudice those claims within the agency's exclusive jurisdiction. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tex. v. Duenez, 201 S.W.3d 674, 675 (Tex. 2006) (per curiam); Subaru of Am., 84 S.W.3d at 221. Only after exhaustion has occurred may a plaintiff seek judicial review of the administrative decision, and then he may do so "only at the time and in the manner designated by statute." Cash Am. Int'l, Inc. v. Bennett, 35 S.W.3d 12, 15 (Tex. 2000). An agency has exclusive jurisdiction when a pervasive regulatory scheme indicates that the Legislature "intended for the regulatory process to be the exclusive means of remedying the problem to which the regulation is addressed." In re Sw. Bell Tel. Co., 235 S.W.3d 619, 624-25 (Tex. 2007) (orig. proceeding); see also In re Entergy Corp., 142 S.W.3d 316, 321 (Tex. 2004) (orig. proceeding) ("An agency has exclusive jurisdiction when the Legislature has granted that agency the sole authority to make an initial determination in a dispute."). Exclusive jurisdiction is a question of statutory interpretation. See Marquez, 487 S.W.3d at 544. Our primary goal in construing a statute is to give effect to the Legislature's intent. Tex. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Ruttiger, 381 S.W.3d 430, 452 (Tex. 2012); TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Co. v. Combs, 340 S.W.3d 432, 439 (Tex. 2011). We defer to the plain meaning of a statute as the best indication of the Legislature's intent unless a different meaning is apparent from the context of the statute or the plain meaning would yield absurd results. Molinet v. Kimbrell, 356 S.W.3d 407, 411 (Tex. 2011). Moreover, we determine legislative intent from the entire act, not merely from isolated portions. Ruttiger, 381 S.W.3d at 454; TGS-NOPEC, 340 S.W.3d at 439. Therefore, we look to the operative statute to determine whether it expressly or impliedly grants the administrative agency sole authority to make an initial determination of disputes within the agency's regulatory expertise. See Marquez, 487 S.W.3d at 544; City of Houston v. Rhule, 417 S.W.3d 440, 442 (Tex. 2013).

         2. Application

         With these principles in mind, we turn to the language of the statute. Chapter 707 of the Texas Transportation Code authorizes local authorities[4] to enact ordinances to impose civil penalties on owners of vehicles photographed running a red light by a red light camera. See Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 707.002; see also id. § 544.007(d) (West Supp. 2017) (requiring operator of motor vehicle to stop when facing a steady red signal). The civil penalty may not exceed $75 and a late payment penalty may not exceed $25. Id. § 707.007.

         Section 707.003 authorizes a city to contract for the installation, operation, administration, and enforcement of the traffic signal enforcement system. Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 707.003. If the city contracts for the administration and enforcement of the system, it may not agree to pay the contractor a percentage of or a dollar amount from each civil penalty collected. Id. § 707.003(b). Before installing a system at an intersection approach, the city must conduct a traffic engineering study of the intersection and report the results to a citizens advisory committee. Id. § 707.003(c)-(e). A city may not impose a civil penalty on an owner of a motor vehicle if the city fails to comply with subsection (b) or (c). Id. § 707.003(f). The city must install signs at the intersection clearly indicating the presence of a photographic monitoring system. Id. § 707.003(g). Section 707.003, however, "applies only to a contract entered into on or after the effective date of [the] Act." Act of May 27, 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., ch. 1149, § 9, 2007 Tex. Gen Laws 3924, 3931; see Ward v. ACS State & Local Sols., Inc., 328 S.W.3d 648, 653 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2010, no pet.). The City contends section 707.003 does not apply in this case because it entered into a contract with Redflex before the effective date of Chapter 707.

         Chapter 707 requires that an ordinance adopted by a city provide that the person subject to a civil penalty is entitled to a hearing, provide the period in which the hearing must be held, and provide for appointment of a hearing officer with authority to administer oaths and issue orders compelling the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents. Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 707.009. The ordinance must designate the department or agency responsible for enforcement and administration of the ordinance or provide that the contractor is responsible for enforcement and administration of the ordinance. Id.

         A notice of a violation of the ordinance must contain specific information about the violation, including a copy of the recorded image of the violation, the amount of the civil penalty, and the time for paying or contesting the civil penalty, and the notice must notify the owner of the vehicle of the owner's right to contest the imposition of the civil penalty at an administrative adjudication hearing. Id. § 707.011. It must also state that the civil penalty may be contested by submitting a written request for an administrative adjudication hearing before the deadline. Id.

         Chapter 707 establishes an administrative adjudication hearing process for challenging liability for the civil penalty and permits a de novo appeal to the appropriate municipal or justice court after a finding of liability. Id. §§ 707.014, 707.016. A person receiving notice of a violation may contest the civil penalty by filing a written request for an administrative hearing within thirty days after the notice was mailed or received. Id. §§ 707.014(a), 707.015. The hearing officer designated by the city shall conduct the hearing, where issues must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. Id. § 707.014(c), (d). The statute authorizes the use of affidavits regarding the reliability of the photographic traffic signal enforcement system. Id. § 707.014(e), (f). The hearing officer shall enter a written finding of liability or no liability for the civil penalty at the conclusion of the hearing. Id. § 707.014(g). An owner who fails to timely pay the civil penalty or request an administrative hearing, or to appear for the administrative hearing after one is timely requested, admits liability for the full amount of the civil penalty and waives the right to appeal. Id. § 707.012.

         After the administrative hearing, the owner may appeal a finding of liability by trial de novo to the justice court of the county where the local authority is located or to the municipal court if the local authority is a city. Id. § 707.016(a), (e). The appeal must be filed before the thirty-first day after the hearing officer's finding and be accompanied by payment of costs of the court. Id. § 707.016(b). An appeal stays enforcement of the civil penalty. Id. § 707.016(d). The owner "shall file a notarized statement of personal financial obligation to perfect the owner's appeal." Id. A municipal court has "exclusive appellate jurisdiction" within the city's territorial limits of cases arising under Chapter 707. Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 29.003(g). A justice court has original jurisdiction of cases arising under Chapter 707 outside a municipality's territorial limits. Id. § 27.031(a)(4) (West Supp. 2017).

         Chapter 707 further provides that if the owner is delinquent in paying a civil penalty, the county assessor-collector or the department of motor vehicles may refuse to register the vehicle involved in the violation. Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 707.017 (West Supp. 2017). However, the imposition of a civil penalty under Chapter 707 is not a conviction and may not be considered a conviction for any purpose, an arrest warrant may not be issued for failure to pay a civil penalty, and a civil penalty may not be recorded on the owner's driving record. Id. §§ 707.018, .019. Nor may the city provide information about a civil penalty to a credit bureau. Id. § 707.003(h).

         Based on its detailed structure and requirements and the express creation of an administrative procedure to determine liability, we conclude Chapter 707 creates a pervasive regulatory scheme indicating the Legislature's intent that claims arising out of the use of red light camera systems would be resolved at the administrative level and that the administrative hearing officer has the sole authority to make an initial determination in a dispute involving the use of the camera system. See In re Entergy Corp., 142 S.W.3d at 321; In re Sw. Bell Tel. Co., 235 S.W.3d at 624-25. Other courts that have addressed the issue agree. See City of Willis v. Garcia, 523 S.W.3d 729, 742 (Tex. App.-Beaumont 2017, pet. filed); Edwards v. City of Tomball, 343 S.W.3d 213, 221-22 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2011, no pet.); see also Hunt v. City of Diboll, No. 12-17-00001-CV, 2017 WL 7663041, at *6-8 (Tex. App.-Tyler Nov. 8, 2017, pet. filed) (reversing order granting plea to the jurisdiction where city failed to publish red light camera ordinance before adoption as required by city charter). Therefore, the Legislature granted exclusive jurisdiction to the administrative hearing officer to make an initial determination of liability, and Bowman was required to exhaust his administrative remedies on his Compliance Claims.

         Bowman argues exhaustion is not required where the agency's action is without authority or in violation of a statute, relying on City of Sherman v. Public Utility Commission of Texas, 643 S.W.2d 681, 686 (Tex. 1983). According to Bowman, the City's attempt to impose a civil penalty on him is without authority or in violation of statute because the City did not conduct an engineering study and present it to a citizens advisory committee before installing the red light camera. See Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 707.003(c), (e).

         We do not agree that City of Sherman supports Bowman's position. In City of Sherman, the supreme court concluded the public utility commission did not have jurisdiction over a municipally owned water utility because the Public Utility Regulatory Act expressly excluded municipal corporations from the definition of public utility. See City of Sherman, 643 S.W.2d at 684. Here, Chapter 707 does not exclude or limit the jurisdiction of the administrative hearing officer when a city fails to conduct an engineering study. Rather, it prohibits the city from imposing a civil penalty if the city violates the requirement. Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 707.003(f) ("A local authority may not impose a civil penalty under this chapter on the owner of a motor vehicle if the local authority violates Subsection (b) or (c)."). This statute does not deprive the hearing officer of jurisdiction. Indeed, in making the determination of whether the owner is liable for a civil penalty under Chapter 707, the hearing officer must necessarily consider whether section 707.003 applies[5] and whether "the local authority [has] violate[d] Subsection (b) or (c)." Id. §§ 707.003(f), .014(g) (authorizing hearing officer to enter a finding of liability or no liability for the civil penalty).

         Both Edwards and City of Willis rejected the assertion that a city's alleged failure to conduct a traffic engineering study excused the owner from exhausting administrative remedies. One of the procedural complaints raised in Edwards was that "Tomball did not conduct the traffic study required by section 707.003(c)." Edwards, 343 S.W.3d at 219. The court of appeals rejected the argument that failure to conduct the study, as well as other procedural problems, rendered the administrative hearing procedure void:

[Appellant] argues that the manner in which Tomball enforced the Red Light Camera Ordinance against her does not fully comply with all of the procedural requirements established by Chapter 707 of the Transportation Code and the Tomball Red Light Camera Ordinance. We hold these deficiencies do not render those efforts void, but voidable. We further hold that if appellant wished to contest imposition of the civil penalty for violating Tomball's Red Light Camera Ordinance based on these procedural deficiencies, she was required to do so through the administrative procedure established by Chapter 707 of the Texas Transportation Code and the Red Light Camera Ordinance and if still dissatisfied, she was required to appeal to Tomball Municipal Court for a trial de novo.

Id. at 222 (citations omitted).

         In City of Willis, the owners asserted claims almost identical to those of Bowman in this case, including the claim that the city failed to conduct an engineering study as required by section 707.003. See City of Willis, 523 S.W.3d at 732, 736. The court of appeals concluded:

[T]aking the allegations in Plaintiffs' pleading as true and assuming without deciding that the City of Willis failed to conduct a traffic engineering study as provided for in section 707.003I [sic] before it installed the red light cameras, we conclude that such irregularity does not allow a party to completely circumvent or ignore the administrative procedures in the City's Red Light Camera Ordinance.

Id. at 742. Specifically, the Beaumont Court of Appeals concluded that even if the city failed to conduct the required engineering study,

the failure to strictly comply with that provision of the statute would, under the facts of this case, be insufficient to trigger the ultra vires exception to the exhaustion requirement because such allegations would be nothing more than allegations that the officials have failed to "fully comply" with regulatory requirements, which would not make the actions of the official ultra vires.

Id. at 744.

         We agree with our sister courts on this point.[6] The mere claim that an administrative agency acted outside its authority does not authorize litigation before administrative remedies are exhausted, "nor does failure to perfectly comply with all of the intricacies of the administrative process necessarily constitute extra-jurisdictional action by an agency." Appraisal Review Bd. of Harris Cty. Appraisal Dist. v. O'Connor & Assocs., 267 S.W.3d 413, 419 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2008, no pet.). The alleged failure of the City to conduct a traffic engineering study and present it to a citizens advisory committee does not exempt Bowman from exhausting his administrative remedies. See City of Willis, 523 S.W.3d at 744; Edwards, 343 S.W.3d at 222.

         Next, Bowman argues that the administrative procedures in Chapter 707 do not create exclusive jurisdiction because section 707.014(a) says an owner who desires to challenge the civil penalty "may" contest the violation through an administrative hearing. See Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 707.014(a) ("A person who receives a notice of violation under this chapter may contest the imposition of the civil penalty specified in the notice of violation by filing a written request for an administrative adjudication hearing."). Bowman asserts that because the term "may" is permissive, an owner wanting to contest the civil penalty is not required to request an administrative hearing, but may file suit in district court to challenge the penalty.

         The words "shall" and "must" in a statute are generally understood as mandatory terms. Helena Chem. Co. v. Wilkins, 47 S.W.3d 486, 493 (Tex. 2001). Conversely, the word "may" is generally understood as indicating discretion or granting permission. Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 311.016(1) (West 2013). But these words must be read in context. Id.[7] Rather than focusing on the word "may" in isolation, we consider the statute as a whole. See Ruttiger, 381 S.W.3d at 454; Wilkins, 47 S.W.3d at 493.

         Section 707.014(a) states a person may contest the imposition of the civil penalty, but it provides only one method of doing so: "by filing a written request for an administrative hearing." Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 707.014(a). It further mandates that the "request for a hearing must be filed on or before the date specified in the notice of violation," which may not be less than thirty days after the notice was mailed. Id. (emphasis added). In determining the Legislature's intent, we must consider the statutory consequence for failing to contest the civil penalty by requesting an administrative hearing within the time allowed. See Wilkins, 47 S.W.3d at 495. Section 707.012 provides that a person who fails to pay the civil penalty or "to contest liability for the penalty in a timely manner or who requests an administrative hearing . . . and fails to appear at that hearing" admits liability for the full amount of the civil penalty stated in the notice and waives the person's right to appeal the imposition of the civil penalty. Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 707.012.

         The consequences for failing to timely request an administrative hearing indicate the Legislature intended the statute to be mandatory. If, as Bowman suggests, an owner may contest liability for the civil penalty by filing suit in a district court, possibly long after the deadline to request an administrative hearing, the owner could easily avoid the admission of liability established by the Legislature as the consequence for failing to timely request an administrative hearing or appear at a requested hearing. This would render section 707.012 meaningless. Accordingly, we reject Bowman's assertion that an owner who wishes to challenge the civil penalty may, but is not required to, request an administrative hearing. We conclude that if an owner desires to contest liability, he must do so in accordance with the method established by the statute: filing a timely written request for an administrative hearing. See id. § 707.014(a).

         In a supplemental brief, Bowman for the first time argues he was not required to exhaust administrative remedies because the justice court has exclusive jurisdiction over civil cases where the amount in controversy is $200 or less. See Tex. Const. art. V, § 19 ("Justice of the peace courts shall have . . . exclusive jurisdiction in civil matters where the amount in controversy is two hundred dollars or less, and such other jurisdiction as may be provided by law."). Therefore, he contends, neither the hearing officer nor the municipal court have jurisdiction over red light camera violations because the civil penalty is limited to $75 plus a possible $25 late fee.

         Bowman's new argument, however, does not support the trial court's denial of the plea to the jurisdiction. Rather, it indicates the district court lacks jurisdiction over Bowman's Compliance Claims because the amount in controversy is below the jurisdictional minimum of the district court. See Tex. Const. art. V, § 8 (district court jurisdiction consists of exclusive, appellate, and original jurisdiction of all actions, proceedings, and remedies, "except in cases where exclusive, appellate, or original jurisdiction may be conferred by this Constitution or other law on some other court, tribunal, or administrative body"); id. § 19; Sultan v. Mathew, 178 S.W.3d 747, 756 n.24 (Tex. 2005) (Hecht, J., dissenting) (noting split in courts of appeals over whether constitutional jurisdictional minimum amount in controversy is $200.01 or $500.00); Arnold v. West Bend Co., 983 S.W.2d 365, 366 n.1 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1998, no pet.). Were we to accept Bowman's argument, the result would be the same-the district court would lack subject matter jurisdiction over the Compliance Claims. Thus, Bowman's belated argument does not change the outcome of this appeal.

         Be that as it may, the Legislature has constitutional power to create such other courts as it deems necessary and to conform the jurisdiction of the district and inferior courts thereto. Tex. Const. art. V, § 1 ("The Legislature may establish such other courts as it may deem necessary and prescribe the jurisdiction and organization thereof, and may conform the jurisdiction of the district and other inferior courts thereto."); Jordan v. Crudgington, 231 S.W.2d 641, 644-45 (Tex. 1950) (discussing the history of article V, section 1 of the constitution); Reasonover v. Reasonover, 58 S.W.2d 817, 819 (Tex. 1933) (holding article V, section 1 authorizes Legislature to take from the district court "the exclusive nature of its jurisdiction over the subjects mentioned in section 8, article 5, and permits the Legislature to give jurisdiction over them also to other courts"). The Legislature has preserved the jurisdiction of justice courts for Chapter 707 cases arising outside the territorial limits of a city. Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 27.031(a)(4). Accordingly, we reject Bowman's argument.

         3.Summ ...


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