In annexation opposition, Dallas Court of Appeals opinion could result in trial courts using TOMA injunction provision to prevent legislative acts not yet up for vote

In Re: City of Mesquite, Texas 05-17-01303-CV (Tex.App— Dallas, November 14, 2017)

In this original mandamus proceeding, the Dallas  Court of Appeals held the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting certain injunctive relief prohibiting annexation in an extraterritorial  jurisdiction.

In its request for injunctive relief, the County alleged that the City violated the Texas Open Meetings Act (“TOMA”) and Texas Local Government Code by failing to provide proper notice of certain meetings and proper notice of the land sought to be annexed. Essentially, the County, through its authority to bring matters on behalf of the State of Texas, filed this as a quo warranto proceeding. The City, as noted in its briefing, was attempting to complete the annexation before the application of recent legislation changing the annexation scheme in Texas.  The trial court issued an injunction order prohibiting the City from taking any action until the trial court made a ruling on the merits. The City filed an original mandamus petition in the Dallas Court of Appeals seeking to have the court order the trial judge to vacate the injunctive order.

The City does not address the intervenors’ and County’s allegations of TOMA and Local Government Code violations or their contention that injunctive relief was properly sought and obtained under TOMA.  It does not explain how the allegations of TOMA violations are not likely to reoccur. Finally, the City contends that if it cannot annex the properties in question today, it will not be able to annex them at all. However, it does not explain how that contention would establish that the trial court abused its discretion.  As a result, it has not established the requirements entitling it to mandamus relief. [Comment: the opinion does not address the City’s arguments in its brief that the trial court lacked authority to enjoin a legislative function, which addresses the injunctive ability under TOMA and Local Government Code and that the annexation law changes effective December 14th, so no similar occurrence is possible. The State asserted the injunction only prevented the  City from holding meetings contrary to state law and that no irreparable injury is necessary to receive a TOMA injunction.]

If you want to read the opinion, click here. The panel consists of Justices Lang-Miers, Myers and Boatright. Justice Boatright delivered opinion of the court. To see the attorneys listed for the Appellant and Appellee’s click here.

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