Supreme Court Orders & Opinions 3/9/07

With today’s orders, the Texas Supreme Court has issued per curiam opinions in six cases.

In Zipp v. Wuemling, the Court held that an appeal from the district court’s guardianship decision was not rendered moot merely because the ward had died while the appeal was pending.  Because issues remained with respect to who should settle the estate and whether the appellant has a legally cognizable interest in attorney’s fees and costs, the supreme court reversed the court of appeals’ judgment of dismissal and remanded to that court for further proceedings.

In City of Dallas v. Saucedo-Falls, the Court remanded the case to the trial court after determining that police officers and firefighters who sued the City alleging they were entitled to a pay raise "should have the opportunity to argue any grounds for waiver of immunity remaining under this Court’s decisions [after the new opinion in Reata Construction Corp. v. City of Dallas, 197 S.W.3d 371 (Tex. 2006)], including whether the City’s immunity from suit is waived by sections 271.151-.160 of the Local Government Code, enacted while this case has been pending on appeal."

In another immunity case, City of Sweetwater v. Waddell, the Court concluded that the court of appeals’ reliance on "sue and be sued" language in the City’s charter as a waiver was inconsistent with Tooke v. City of Mexia, 197 S.W.3d 325 (Tex. 2006) and remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.

In In re Texas Department of Transportation and In re Gillespie County, separate mandamus actions originating from the same dispute, the Court conditionally granted mandamus relief directing a Travis County probate court to transfer venue of the plaintiffs’ claims against certain defendants to Gillespie County, a county of mandatory venue.

In Doe v. Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, the Court treated as timely a notice of appeal filed more than 90 days after the trial court signed a severance order conditioned on payment of a filing fee.