Friday, August 15, 2008

DJA | City of Pasadena v. Smith set for oral argument

No. 06-0948
CITY OF PASADENA, TEXAS v. RICHARD SMITH; from Harris County; 1st district (01-05-01157-CV, ___ SW3d ___, 09-14-06)

Set to be argued orally September 10, 2008 at 9:00 a.m.

Opinion below: City of Pasadena v. Smith, No. 01-05-01157-CV (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Sep. 14, 2006)(Jennings) (governmental entities law, public employment law, city, police, termination, suspension, availability of declaratory relief under the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act (UDJA aka DJA), jurisdictional issue)


From the Opinion by Justice Terry Jennings

Section 143.057(j) expressly limits judicial review of a hearing examiner’s award to situations in which the hearing examiner “was without jurisdiction or exceeded its jurisdiction [or its] order was procured by fraud, collusion, or other unlawful means.” Tex. Loc. Gov’t Code Ann. § 143.057(j).

Here, the City is not seeking an interpretation of a statute and a determination of its rights under that statute as contemplated under the DJA. Rather, it is attempting to appeal a hearing examiner’s award based on a misapplication of law. This it cannot do. Tex. Natural Res. Conservation Comm’n v. IT-Davy, 74 S.W.3d 849, 855 (Tex. 2002) (“The DJA does not extend a trial court’s jurisdiction, and a litigant’s request for declaratory relief does not confer jurisdiction on a court or change a suit’s underlying nature.”).

Accordingly, we hold that the district court did not have jurisdiction to hear the City’s appeal under the DJA.” [Declaratory Judgments Act ]

Full case style in the Houston Court of Appeals: City of Pasadena, Texas v. Richard A. Smith
Appeal from 113th District Court of Harris County (Judge Patricia Hancock)

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