Unrelated to Jurisdiction – Pet. Granted

  • In re Lamar University
    • 091800241CV, 2018 WL 3911062
    • 60th District of Jefferson County
    • Per Curiam, Aug. 16, 2018
  • The real parties in interest, coaches of Lamar University’s softball team, filed a lawsuit against the University alleging a failure to follow Lamar’s policies with respect to grievances and appeals of their employment termination.
  • Real parties filed a temporary restraining order against the University to prohibit Lamar from taking any further action under Texas State University Rules and a mandatory permanent injunction to compel Lamar to follow its Human Resources policy manual.
  • Relators filed a plea to the jurisdiction, alleging that as at-will employees, the real parties had not right to a grievance or appeal of their employment termination, as well as failure to plead a valid cause of action due to the defense of sovereign immunity.
  • In response, real parties requested a continuance on the plea to the jurisdiction until they could conduct discovery and develop their case.
  • The trial court granted the TRO, and without ruling on the plea to the jurisdiction, the trial court granted the request for expedited discovery.
  • The Ninth Court held that though trial courts have discretion to permit limited discovery on jurisdictional issues, the requested discovery in this case was unrelated to the jurisdictional issue before the trial court. Thus, the trial court abused its discretion by ordering expedited discovery on matter unrelated to jurisdiction. The trial court is to vacate its order granting expedited discovery and rule on the plea to the jurisdiction.

Trespass-to-Try-Title Action – Reversed and Rendered

  • Lackey v. Templeton
    • 09-17-00183-CV, 2018 WL 3384570
    • 1A District Court of Jasper County
    • Justice McKeithen, July 12 2018
  • Templeton sough declaratory judgment for 100% ownership to the mineral estate of two tracts of land. Multiple parties involved.
  • Defendants filed an answer and special exceptions complaining that Templetons brought the wrong cause of action to obtain determination of tile; rather, Templetons should have pled the case as a trespass-to-try-title. Each side filed a motion for summary judgment.
  • The trial court granted partial summary judgment to Templetons.
  • By looking to the Declaratory Judgments Act, the Texas Property Code, and recent Supreme Court precedent, the Ninth Court held that a dispute involving a claim of superior title must be brought as a trespass-to-try-title action. Lance v. Robinson, 543 S.W.3d 723, 735-36 (Tex. 2018). The underlying nature of the suit is not altered by couching request relief as declaratory. Templetons were required to plead and prove a trespass-to-try-title claim. All trial court orders on summary judgments were reversed; plaintiffs take nothing.