County seeks immunity in Glen Morgan appraisal suit

David Yates May 18, 2009, 9:38am

A partner in one of Beaumont's most well known and successful law firms has a beef with Jefferson County over the property value of his private plane hangar.

On Friday, May 22, the county will argue for governmental immunity in a suit filed by plaintiff's attorney Glen Morgan, a managing partner in the Reaud, Morgan & Quinn law firm.

Morgan sued the Jefferson County Appraisal District in 2006, claiming the hangar he leased from the Southeast Texas Regional Airport was exempt from ad valorem taxes and that the county had appraised the property above its cash market value.

"The property made the subject of this litigation was at all timed owned by Jefferson County and as such not subject to taxation," Morgan's suit states. "Plaintiff does not own the property but merely has the right to use the property pursuant to an operating lease."

Morgan also argues the property "has been appraised at a value greater than its fair cash value and in a manner and amount that is not equal and uniform in comparison to other properties, and, therefore, the property's appraised value is excessive and unlawful."

In its answer, the appraisal district took special exceptions to Morgan's claim, asserting Morgan failed to state what the market value of the property should be.

"Plaintiff pleads that the property is excessively appraised and stated that the appraised value � is in excess of its 'fair cash value,'" the answer states. "Yet nowhere in � his petition does plaintiff state what he contends the market value � to be as required by the � Tax Code."

Earlier this month, Jefferson County filed a plea to the jurisdiction motion, arguing the county has immunity.

And on May 22, Assistant District Attorney Tom Rugg will ask 172nd District Judge Donald Floyd to dismiss the county from Morgan's suit.

The case had been originally assigned to 58th District Judge Bob Wortham, a former Reaud, Morgan & Quinn attorney.

Case No. A177-646

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