Claims not ripe for property owner since commissioners’ court has not made a final decision

Philip Wayne Hindes and Melinda Hindes Eustace v. La Salle County, Texas, et al. 04-14-00651-CV (Tex. App. – San Antonio, August 26, 2015).

The Hindes family owns a ranch located in La Salle County with a number of roads that cross the ranch. Townsend acquired a tract of land located to the south of Hindes’ property. Shortly after acquisition, Townsend requested permission to access one particular road which Hindes denied. Townsend and Hindes sued each other over access to the road, which ultimately resulted in no findings. In 2013, the County declared a public interest in the road. Townsend then attempted to use the portion of the road declared to be public, but Hindes obtained an injunction. Townsend filed an application under TEX. TRANSP. CODE. ANN. § 251.053 (West 2013) to declare the road public. Hindes sued the County attempting to block any attempt to declare the road public. The County filed a plea to the jurisdiction which was granted. Hindes appealed.

The key to this case is simply the County has not yet ruled on Townsend’s application. Hindes sought to prevent the Commissioner’s Court from even considering it. As a result, the claims are not yet ripe. Further, Hindes has not shown that future injury is imminent.  As a result, the plea was properly granted.

If you would like to read this opinion click here. Panel: Justice Angelini, Justice Martinez and Justice Pulliam. Memorandum Opinion by Justice Martinez.  The docket page with attorney listings can be found here.

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