Two cases for litigators

Ashiru  v. City of Rosenberg, et al.  01-12-00681-CV (Tex. App. – Houston [1st Dist.], September 19, 2013).

Again, this is a case mainly for litigators. While it is a tax case, the issue before the court are whether Ashiru received proper notice of her trial setting.  She submitted evidence she was in Nigeria for almost a month, during which time the notice of trial setting was sent.  The City did not dispute this assertion, but merely stated it and the other taxing entities in the suit sent proper notice by certified mail. The trial court denied her motion for new trial, but the Houston Court of Appeals reversed holding evidence supports a lack of notice and no evidence counters it.  So, essentially, the evidence supports the City mailed her notice, but she was in Nigeria at the time, which does not properly qualify. The court reversed and remanded for a new trial.

If you would like to read this opinion click here.

Cubbage v. Harris County Appraisal District, 14-13-00508-CV (Tex. App. – Houston [14th Dist.], September 19, 2013).

This case is mainly for litigators. It goes through a good analysis of when a trial court is required to issue findings of fact and conclusions of law (“FFCL”) when ruling on a plea to the jurisdiction or summary judgment. In this case, the trial court granted the Harris County Appraisal District’s motion for summary judgment.  Cubbage requested FFCLs but did not file an appeal, believing his request tolled the deadline. On appeal he argued the MSJ contained jurisdictional challenges which required FFCL due to its nature and was really a plea to the jurisdiction in disguise. The court of appeals held that whether it was a plea or not does not matter. Even if it was a plea, the facts were relatively undisputed. No evidentiary hearing was held to intake evidence. As a result, FFCLs have no place in a ruling like this.  The deadline to appeal was therefore not tolled and the judgment stands as final.

If you would like to read this opinion click here.