EDC held to be a governmental entity again. . . well sort of.

City of Leon Valley Economic Development Corporation v. Larry Little, 04-12-00142-CV (Tex. App. – San Antonio, December 30, 2013).

This opinion withdrew a prior opinion of June 19, 2013 (summary found here) and substituted this opinion. In the original opinion, the Fourth Court of Appeals determined that the Leon Valley Economic Development Corporation was not a political subdivision unit and was therefore not entitled to take an interlocutory appeal from the denial of a plea to the jurisdiction. In this new opinion, the original panel reversed itself and held an EDC’s powers, privileges, and functions are specified by statute and therefore falls within the broad definition of governmental unit for purposes of an interlocutory appeal.

The facts are more spelled out in the linked summary above, but essentially, a property owner sued the EDC for breach of contract from a failed development project. The EDC filed a plea asserting governmental immunity which was denied and it appealed. This substituted opinion holds the EDC is not inherently protected by the common-law doctrine of governmental immunity.  However, Tex. Loc. Gov’t Code §505.106(b) statutorily invoked the common-law doctrine of governmental immunity to protect an EDC for limited purposes (i.e. claims brought under Texas Tort Claims Act).  Non-tort claims are also precluded under (a), but only the immunity from liability (which is not jurisdictional).

The court held that subsection (a) makes the EDC immune from liability, but since the issue was brought before them on a plea to the jurisdiction, the plea was properly denied as it is not a jurisdictional defense.

If you would like to read this opinion click here.

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