Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
CHRISTUS SPOHN HEALTH SYSTEM CORPORATION D/B/A CHRISTUS HOSPITAL CORPUS CHRISTI-SHORELINE, Appellant,
JAMIE DANIEL GRACIA AND RACHEL GRACIA, Appellees.
appeal from the 214th District Court of Nueces County, Texas.
Chief Justice Contreras and Justices Benavides and Longoria
L. LONGORIA JUSTICE.
an interlocutory appeal from an order denying appellant
Christus Spohn Health System Corporation d/b/a Christus
Hospital Corpus Christi-Shoreline's (Spohn) plea to the
jurisdiction. We reverse and render judgment dismissing the
Jamie Daniel Gracia and Rachel Gracia brought a health care
liability claim against Spohn alleging negligence in the
post-surgical care and treatment of Jamie. Spohn filed a plea
to the jurisdiction asserting that it is a "hospital
district management contractor." See Tex.
Health & Safety Code Ann. § 285.071. Spohn argued
that as a hospital district management contractor, it is
entitled to governmental immunity. See Tex. Civ.
Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 101.001(3). Spohn urged
that the Gracias failed to prove that their claims fell
within the waiver of immunity under the Texas Tort Claims Act
(TTCA) and as such, Spohn is entitled to dismissal. See
id. § 101.021. The Gracias filed their response in
opposition to Spohn's plea to the jurisdiction arguing
that Spohn's contract with Nueces County Hospital
District (NCHD) did not include operation of the Christus
Hospital Corpus Christi-Shoreline (Shoreline) hospital, where
Jamie received his care.
hearing argument and reviewing the evidence attached to each
parties' pleadings, the trial court denied the plea to
the jurisdiction. This interlocutory appeal followed.
Plea to the Jurisdiction
Standard of Review and Applicable Law
question of whether a party is entitled to governmental
immunity implicates the trial court's subject matter
jurisdiction. See Harris Cty. Hosp. Dist., v. Tomball
Reg'l Hosp., 283 S.W.3d 838, 842 (Tex. 2009);
Tex. Dep't of Parks & Wildlife v. Miranda,
133 S.W.3d 217, 226 (Tex. 2004). Whether a trial court has
subject matter jurisdiction over a claim is a question of law
that this Court reviews de novo. Tomball, 283 S.W.3d
argues that its contractual relationship with NCHD entitles
it to immunity pursuant to §§ 285.071 and 285.072
of the health and safety code. Tex. Health & Safety Code
Ann. §§ 285.071, 285.072. It is undisputed that
hospital districts are governmental units entitled to
immunity, and individuals filing suit against a hospital
district must comply with the notice requirements for filing
suit against a governmental unit under the TTCA. Tex. Civ.
Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 101.001(3); Martinez v.
Val Verde Cty. Hosp. Dist., 140 S.W.3d 370, 371
(Tex. 2004). Section 285.071 of the health and safety code
defines a "hospital district management contractor"
as a "nonprofit corporation, partnership, or sole
proprietorship that manages or operates a hospital or
provides services under contract with a hospital district
that was created by general or special law." Tex. Health
& Safety Code Ann. § 285.071. The statute
also states that:
A hospital district management contractor in its management
or operation of a hospital under a contract with a hospital
district is considered a governmental unit for purposes of
Chapters 101, 102, and 108, Civil Practice and Remedies Code,
and any employee of the contractor is, while performing
services under the contract for the benefit of the hospital,
an employee of the hospital district for the purpose of
Chapters 101, 102, and 108, Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
Id. § 285.072; see also Christus Spohn
Health Sys. Corp. v. Ven Huizen, No. 13-10-00400-CV,
2011 WL 1900174, at *2-3 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi-Edinburg
May 19, 2011, pet. denied) (mem. op.).