14th Court of Appeals holds Plaintiff in vehicle accident failed to estbalish City recieved a proper notice of claim or actual knowledge of the claim within deadline so case was dismissed
Brian F. Wilson v. City of Houston, 14-22-00666-CV (Tex.App. — Hous [14th Dist.], Oct. 10, 2023)
This is a Texas Tort Claims Act/Emergency Responder case where the Fourteenth Court of Appeals affirmed the granting of the City’s dispositive motions.
Wilson was involved in a vehicle collision with a City fire truck and brought suit for negligence, gross negligence, negligence per se, negligent entrustment, negligent hiring, and exemplary damages. The City filed a no-evidence motion for summary judgement asserting Wilson had no evidence the City received formal notice of claim, had actual notice of claim, or any evidence to overcome the emergency responder exception. The trial court granted the City’s motion and Wilson appealed.
Under the Texas Tort Claims Act (“TTCA”), a governmental unit generally must be given notice of a claim that describes “(1) the damage or injury claimed; (2) the time and place of the incident; and (3) the incident.” Claimants must also comply with any time requirements for notice that a city has adopted by charter or ordinance. The City’s charter requires that written notice of a claim be provided to the City within ninety days. Formal notice is not required if the City had actual notice of the claim, including the same elements. Wilson’s only evidence of formal notice was submitted a year later. To address the City’s actual notice, Wilson submitted an affidavit testifying to the fact he was in the hospital for several days after the accident. However, even if the City knew Wilson was in the hospital (which may qualify for notice of the “injury claimed” prong), that does not establish the City knew it was a producing or contributing cause. The police report only indicated the collision occurred and that Wilson was charged with making an illegal U-turn and failing to yeild the right-of-way. As a result, the motion was properly granted.
If you would like to read this opinion, click here. Panel consists of Justices Bourliot, Hassan, and Poissant. Memorandum opinion by Justice Bourliot.