Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
CITY OF BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS, TONY MARTINEZ, ROSE Z. GOWEN, RICARDO LONGORIA JR., JOEL MUNGUIA, BEN NEECE AND JESSICA TETREAU IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITIES ONLY, Appellants,
BROWNSVILLE GMS, LTD. AND MICHAEL BENNETT, Appellees.
appeal from the 445th District Court of Cameron County,
Justices Benavides, Longoria, and Perkes
M. BENAVIDES, JUSTICE
the City of Brownsville, Tony Martinez, Rose M.Z. Gowen,
Ricardo Longoria, Jr., Jessica Tretreau, Joel Mungia, and Ben
Neece (collectively the City) filed this interlocutory appeal
from the trial court's alleged denial of the City's
plea to the jurisdiction. Brownsville GMS, Ltd. (GMS) responded
to the interlocutory appeal by asserting that this Court has
no jurisdiction because the trial court did not rule on the
City's plea to the jurisdiction. The City asserts that
the trial court implicitly ruled although it admits there is
no signed order. We dismiss the appeal for lack of
sued the City, the Mayor, and the city commission members
complaining of the manner in which the City awarded its waste
disposal contract and obtained a temporary injunction to
preclude the City from acting on the award of a temporary or
emergency contract and an order for expedited discovery.
Cesar Deleon, a city commissioner and party to the suit, and
the City filed motions to dismiss the suits against the Mayor
and City commission members in each of their individual
capacities citing § 101.06(e) of the civil practice and
remedies code. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. §
101.06(e). The City also filed two pleas to the jurisdiction
asserting immunity. The trial court scheduled multiple
motions to be heard on August 13, 2019.
trial court first ruled on DeLeon's motion to dismiss the
individual claims against him and denied his motion. During
the hearing, DeLeon filed an interlocutory notice of appeal
pursuant to § 51.014(a)(5) of the civil practices and
remedies code. Id. § 51.014(a)(5). After DeLeon
filed his interlocutory appeal during the hearing, he
simultaneously advised the trial court he had done so and
that the filing stayed all proceedings in the trial court
until after this Court ruled on the interlocutory
appeal of that order. See id. § 51.014(b). The
trial court agreed and did not rule on anything further after
the interlocutory appeal was brought to the trial court's
trial court's order denied DeLeon's motion to dismiss
pursuant to § 51.014(a)(5). "An
interlocutory appeal under Subsection (a)(3), (5), (8), or
(12) . . . stays all other proceedings in the trial court
pending resolution of that appeal." Id. §
51.014(b). Because subsection 51.014(b) specifically stays
all proceedings in the trial court, the trial court found it
had no authority to decide any of the other pending motions.
City argues that the trial court's refusal to rule on its
pleas to the jurisdiction invokes the implicit ruling
doctrine and cites Thomas v. Long, 207 S.W.3d 334,
339 (Tex. 2006). An order denying a plea to the jurisdiction
on immunity grounds may be appealed pursuant to §
51.014(a)(8). See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code
Ann. § 51.014(a)(8).
Thomas, the implicit ruling was predicated on the
trial court's grant of affirmative relief to Long while
at the same time failing to rule on Thomas's plea to the
jurisdiction. Thomas, 207 S.W.3d at 339 The trial
court did not have authority to grant the relief Long sought
unless it affirmatively determined that it had jurisdiction.
Id. at 340. The Thomas Court held that the
trial court implicitly denied Thomas's plea to the
jurisdiction by granting relief on the merits to Long.
the trial court became aware that DeLeon filed an
instantaneous interlocutory appeal to this Court. According
to § 51.014(b), all action in the trial court is stayed
pending termination of the appeal. See Tex. Civ.
Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 51.014(b); In re Geomet
Recycling LLC, 578 S.W.3d 82, 91 (Tex. 2019) (orig.
proceeding). In Geomet, a party requested that the
stay imposed by statute be lifted to allow the trial court to
rule on the party's motion for temporary injunction and
motion for contempt. Id. at 86. The appellate court
lifted the stay for those proceedings in the trial court. The
Geomet Court held that the appellate court did not
have authority to allow the trial court to conduct
proceedings because the statute did not allow them.
Id. at 91.
trial court correctly recognized it did not have the power to
rule on the remaining motions here and adjourned the hearing.
Because the trial court had no authority to rule on the
remaining motions, it did not implicitly deny the pleas to
Court grants Brownsville GMS's motion to dismiss the
City's appeal of the denial of its plea to the
jurisdiction for lack of ...