Plaintiff not entitled to 21 day notice of hearing on plea to the jurisdiction

Irene Silva and David Silva v The City of Pasadena, 14-15-00062-CV (Tex. App. – Austin, March 15, 2016).

This is a personal injury lawsuit where the Austin Court of Appeals affirmed the granting of the City’s plea to the jurisdiction. This is more of a procedural case than anything else.

Irene and David Silva were crossing an apartment complex’s parking lot when a Pasadena police officer struck Irene Silvia with his patrol car. The city filed a plea to the jurisdiction asserting that since the officer was entitled to official immunity, the City was likewise immune from suit. The City set the plea to be heard on September 12, 2014, thirty-one days before the case was to be tried. The Silvas failed to timely respond. The plea remained pending until the docket call when the trial court signed the order granting the City’s plea.  The Silvas appealed.

The Silvas assert the plea was really a motion for summary judgment and they did not get 21 days’ notice of the hearing at which it would be considered. Despite their insistence that the plea was actually a summary-judgment motion, the Silvas offer no authority, evidence, or even argument to support that position. A party may challenge the trial court’s subject-matter jurisdiction using either procedural vehicle.  Here, the City filed a plea so the 21-day notice provision does not apply. Further, even if it did apply, the record does not show any basis to allow a reversal since the hearing was set 31 days out. As a result, the court, based on the record, sustained the plea.

If you would like to read this opinion, click here.  Panel: Justice Christopher, Justice McCally, and Justice Busby.  Memorandum opinion given by Justice Christopher.   Attorneys for the Appellant are Joshua Willoughby and Andre Ligon.  Attorneys for the Appellee are William S. Helfand, Kathryn Boss, and Steven Jon Knight.