Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth
Philip T. Pixler, Appellant
City of Newark, William Andrew Messer, Mack Reinwand, Ashley D. McSwain, Rene Culp, Pamela Thompson, Taylor Burton, and Jeanine M. Inman, Appellees
Appeal from the 271st District Court Wise County, Texas Trial
Court No. CV17-10-820-A
Sudderth, C.J.; Gabriel, and Womack, JJ.
Sudderth Chief Justice.
issue, pro se Appellant Philip T. Pixler appeals the trial
court's grant of the Appellees' plea to the
jurisdiction and dismissal of Pixler's counterclaims
against them. We affirm.
case arises from a dispute between the City of Newark and
Pixler. In October 2017, Newark sued Pixler to obtain
injunctive relief to force him to remove "junked
vehicles" from his property, to collect administrative
penalty fees, and to recover civil penalties for violating
city ordinances and for violating the Texas Uniform
Fraudulent Transfers Act. In response, Pixler filed
counterclaims against Newark and the Newark employees for
constitutional violations, barratry and malpractice (in his
words, "Shyster Shenanigans"), and intentional
infliction of emotional distress.
Appellees filed a motion to dismiss Pixler's
counterclaims and a plea to the jurisdiction. They argued
that the claims against the Newark Employees should be
immediately dismissed because Pixler sued Newark in addition
to the employees. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem.
Code Ann. § 101.106(e). They further argued that the
trial court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction due to
governmental immunity. In February 2018, the trial court
granted the motion to dismiss and plea to the jurisdiction
and dismissed Pixler's counterclaims with prejudice. It
later severed the counterclaims and rendered a final judgment
dismissing Pixler's claims.
August 2018, in response to Pixler's petition for
mandamus relief, we held that the district court did not have
subject-matter jurisdiction over Newark's claim to
enforce administrative penalties, but that it did have
subject-matter jurisdiction over the remaining three claims.
In re Pixler, No. 02-18-00181 -CV, 2018 WL 3580637,
at *7 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth Aug. 23, 2018, orig. proceeding).
Newark subsequently nonsuited without prejudice all of its
claims against Pixler.
brief is difficult to follow and relies upon evidence that is
outside the record. We cannot consider matters that are
outside the record and therefore disregard any such
references. See Shelton v. Standard Fire Ins. Co.,
816 S.W.2d 552, 553-54 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 1991, no writ).
And although the brief is not in strict compliance with the
rules for appellate briefing, we decline Appellees'
invitation to dismiss the appeal for Pixler's failure to
so comply. See Tex. Mexican Ry. Co. v. Bouchet, 963
S.W.2d 52, 54 (Tex. 1998) (directing that courts should
liberally construe briefing rules).
the trial court properly held that it did not have
subject-matter jurisdiction over Pixler's counterclaim
against Newark and his claims against the Newark Employees,
we affirm the trial court's judgment.
Standard of review
to the jurisdiction challenges the trial court's
authority to determine the subject matter of the action.
City of Westworth Vill. v. City of White Settlement,
558 S.W.3d 232, 239 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 2018, pet. denied).
Whether a trial court has subject-matter jurisdiction,
whether a plaintiff has alleged facts that affirmatively
demonstrate a trial court's subject-matter jurisdiction,
and whether undisputed evidence of jurisdictional facts
establishes a trial court's jurisdiction are questions of
law that we review de novo. Id; see also Tex. Nat. Res.
Conservation Comm'n v. IT-Davy, 74 S.W.3d 849, 855
plea to the jurisdiction challenges the pleadings, we
determine if the pleader has alleged facts that affirmatively
demonstrate the court's jurisdiction to hear the cause,
construing the pleadings liberally in the plaintiffs favor
and looking to the pleader's intent. Westworth,
558 S.W.3d at 239 (citing Tex. Dept of Parks &
Wildlife v. Miranda,133 S.W.3d 217, 226 (Tex. 2004)).
If the pleadings do not contain sufficient facts to
affirmatively demonstrate the trial court's jurisdiction
but do not affirmatively demonstrate incurable ...