Whistleblower must give sufficient notice of what law was allegedly violated says 13th Court of Appeals

Angela Jo Carter v. Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, 13-13-00596-CV (Tex. App. – Corpus Christi, October 16, 2014).

This is a Whistleblower Act case where the 13th Court of Appeals affirmed the granting of a plea to the jurisdiction for the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (“TDMV”).

Carter was a Historically Underutilized Business Coordinator for the TDMV and was on a six month probationary period. During that time she filed several complaints against co-workers including complaints the hearing-impaired co-worker’s proximity to her bother her, her co-workers were unskilled, she was underpaid and disagreed with the policy prohibiting the acceptance of free meals. Carter was terminated during the probationary period and she sued alleging Whistleblower Act violations. TDMV filed a plea to the jurisdiction which the trial court granted and she appealed.

The court held Carter’s petition of 14 different complaints did not identify any violation of law and only made vague references to “irregularities” and “abnormalities” she believed were illegal. She also did not report to an appropriate law enforcement authority before her termination.  Reporting irregular purchase authorizations to the Texas Comptroller the day after her termination does not count. As a result the trial court properly granted the plea.

If you would like to read this opinion click here. Panel: Justice Rodriguez, Justice Garza and Justice Longoria. Memorandum Opinion by Justice Garza.  The attorney listed for TDMV is Benjamin L. Dower.  The attorney listed for Carter is Dominic C. Audino