Court of Appeals of Texas, Third District, Austin
THE 200TH DISTRICT COURT OF TRAVIS COUNTY NO.
D-1-GN-12-001211, THE HONORABLE DUSTIN M. HOWELL, JUDGE
Chief Justice Rose, Justices Kelly and Smith
L. KELLY, JUSTICE
National Advertising of Austin, Inc. appeals from the trial
court's final judgment after remand awarding Reagan
damages, costs, and attorney's fees but denying
Reagan's request for additional damages and injunctive
relief. We will affirm the trial court's final judgment.
owns and operates billboards in the Austin area. Appellees,
the City of Austin and City Manager Spencer Cronk
(collectively, the City) charge Reagan a per-billboard
assessment each year. Reagan paid these assessments under
protest for the years 2009 through 2014. In 2010, Reagan sued
the City in federal district court, challenging the
constitutionality of the billboard assessment. The federal
court held that the billboard assessment was a tax for
purposes of the Tax Injunction Act and dismissed the suit for
lack of jurisdiction. Reagan then brought this suit in a
Travis County district court. Following a bench trial, the
trial court signed a final judgment in March 2015 ordering
that Reagan take nothing on its claims.
appealed to this Court. On appeal, Reagan challenged the
constitutionality of the billboard assessment and prayed only
for a refund of $198, 450.00 (a portion of the amount that it
had paid the City under protest) and attorney's fees.
Reagan did not seek injunctive relief.
initial opinion, we gave preclusive effect to the federal
court's holding that the billboard assessment was a tax,
and we held that this tax violated article VIII, section 1(f)
of the Texas Constitution. See Reagan Nat'l Advert.
of Austin, Inc. v. City of Austin, 498 S.W.3d 236, 246
(Tex. App-Austin 2016, pet. denied). We therefore reversed
the trial court's judgment, rendered judgment that Reagan
recover $198, 450.00 from the City, and remanded the cause to
the trial court to determine the appropriate amount of
attorney's fees. See id. at 246-47. The Texas
Supreme Court denied the City's petition for review, and
the United States Supreme Court denied the City's
petition for a writ of certiorari.
mandate to the trial court, issued on October 30, 2017,
included the following directives:
Having reviewed the record and the parties' arguments,
the Court holds that there was reversible error in the
court's judgment. Therefore, the Court reverses the trial
court's judgment and renders judgment that the billboard
assessment violates the Texas Constitution and that Reagan
National Advertising of Austin, Inc. d/b/a Reagan National
Advertising recover $198, 450.99 from the City of Austin,
Texas. The Court also remands the cause to the trial court to
determine the amount of attorney's fees, if any, to which
Reagan National Advertising of Austin, Inc. d/b/a Reagan
National Advertising is entitled. Appellees shall pay all
costs relating to this appeal, both in this Court and in the
remand, Reagan filed a "Motion to Enforce
Judgment," in which it asserted that the City sent it a
notice on November 8, 2017, attempting to collect a billboard
assessment for the year 2018 at the rate of $190 per
billboard-the same rate that this Court had recently held
unconstitutional. Reagan asked the trial court to prohibit
the City from collecting the 2018 assessment. On January 2,
2018, the court denied Reagan's motion.
then filed a "Motion for Determination of Remaining
Issues and Entry of Final Judgment" in the trial court.
In that motion, Reagan requested that the court render
judgment "awarding [Reagan] a refund of the total
amounts it paid to the City for the years 2010 through
2018," "enjoining the City from continuing to
charge the unconstitutional tax," and "awarding
[Reagan] attorneys' fees." While this motion was
pending, Reagan filed a "Motion for Enforcement of
Mandate or, in the Alternative, for Clarification" in
this Court. We denied Reagan's motion.
April 2018, the trial court held a hearing on Reagan's
"Motion for Determination of Remaining Issues and Entry
of Final Judgment." On August 23, 2018, the court signed
a final judgment after remand. In the judgment, the court
awarded Reagan $198, 450.00 in damages and costs and
attorney's fees of $303, 907.73. The judgment also
awarded Reagan interest and conditional appellate
attorney's fees. However, the judgment denied
Reagan's request for an additional refund of $279, 931.40
for the years 2009 through 2014 and an award of $319, 960.00
for the years 2015 through 2018. The court also denied
Reagan's request for an injunction enjoining the City
from continuing to charge the billboard assessment. The court
did not reach the merits of Reagan's requests for this
additional relief, nor was a full record made on the nature
of the 2018 ...