State properly dismissed from suit alleged “falsified sovereignty”

Claudia Puentes v. The State of Texas,04-17-00258-CV ( Tex. App— San Antonio, October 4, 2017).

This is an interlocutory appeal where the San Antonio Court of Appeals affirmed the granting of the State’s plea to the jurisdiction in this §1983 case.

Puentes initially alleged she was assaulted, drugged and remove from a bar (“Brass Monkey”) and published such statements on social media. She was sued by the Brass Monkey for damages. Puentes filed counter-claims against the City, it’s PD, and a specific Officer alleging they violated her civil rights and for “falsified sovereignty.”  She then filed claims against the State of Texas for failing to train the PD’s officers and other purported constitutional violations. The State filed a plea to the jurisdiction which the trial court granted. Puentes appealed.

The court simply noted Puentes has not and cannot show any waiver of immunity for any of her claims against the State. Puentes’s claims against the State fall within three broad categories: (1) claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of the Constitution; (2) claims under the Texas Constitution; and (3) intentional torts. With regard to Puentes’s §1983 claims, the State has immunity from federal claims pursuant to the Eleventh Amendment. Regarding claims under the Texas Constitution, no fact pattern presented showed or could have showed a waiver of immunity. Finally, the State is immune from intentional torts and expressly excluded from the waiver found in the Texas Tort  Claims Act. As a result, the plea was properly granted.

If you would like to read this opinion click here. The panel consists of Justices Angelini, Alvarez, Rios. Justice Angelini delivered the opinion of the court. Attorney listed for Ms. Puentes is Rodolfo R. Munoz. Attorneys listed for the State of Texas are Bradford Bennett and Christopher Hilton.

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