Appellate courts can consider new jurisdictional challenges first time on appeal says Texas Supreme Court.

 

Dallas County v Logan, No. 12-0203 (Tex. August 23, 2013)

This is an interlocutory appeal Texas Tort Claims Act case, but the issue before the Texas Supreme Court was whether the County could raising additional jurisdictional defenses on interlocutory appeal which were not contained within the plea to the jurisdiction.  This case will primarily be of interest to litigators.

The Court recognized a split in the circuits.  Separate from raising jurisdictional defenses for the first item on appeal  arising out of a final order, the split in the courts of appeals turns on an appellate court’s interlocutory jurisdiction under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §51.014(a)(8).  Some districts held that appellate jurisdiction is limited to reviewing the grant or denial of the plea and are therefore limited to what was raised in the plea. Other courts hold that a court of appeals can hear any jurisdictional challenge in an interlocutory appeal regardless of whether such a challenge was presented to the trial court.

The Texas Supreme Court held, without much explanation, that §51.014 allows a court of appeals to hear additional challenges raised on the first time on appeal. The Court reversed the court of appeals dismissal of the interlocutory appeal and remanded for further processing (i.e. consider the new challenges and then issue another decision).

If you would like to read this opinion click here.