Bona fide offer before condemnation can commence is not a jurisdictional prerequisite says 14th Court of Appeals

City of Rosenberg v. The State of Texas, 14-15-00745-CV (Tex. App.—Houston, [14th Dist], October 13, 2015)

The City of Rosenberg owns property the State is seeking to obtain for purposes of highway improvement over which it initiated condemnation proceedings against the City. The City responded to the State’s petition by filing a plea in abatement and a plea to the jurisdiction, alleging that the State had not met the prerequisite to filing suit of making a bona fide offer for the property. The trial court denied the City’s plea to the jurisdiction and the City filed this interlocutory appeal.

In condemnation proceedings of this nature, the condemning authority must make a bona fide offer for the property under Chapter 21 of the Property Code and, if rejected, can initiate a condemnation suit. In 2004, the Supreme Court of Texas concluded that §21.012’s requirements are not jurisdictional, although the requirement for a bona fide offer was not contained within the statute at that time. Hubenak v. San Jacinto Gas Transmission Co., 141 S.W.3d 172, 183 (Tex. 2004). After analyzing the Hubenak case and the 2011 legislative amendments, the court determined the bona fide offer requirement is likewise not jurisdictional.  As a result, it was proper for the trial court to deny the plea.

If you would like to read this opinion click here.  Panel: Justice Christopher, Justice McCally, and Justice Donovan.  Opinion given by Justice Christopher.  Attorneys for the Appellant are George E. Hyde, Scott M. Tschirhart, and Cynthis Trevino.  The attorneys for the Appellee are Susan Desmarais Bonnen, and Glorieni Azeredo.