Texas Supreme Court dismisses whistleblower suit against A&M Kingsville

The Texas Supreme Court on Feb. 22 dismissed a whistleblower lawsuit against Texas A&M University–Kingsville.  After being terminated from her position with A&M-Kingsville, Gertrud Moreno filed suit against the university in Kleburg County District Court, bringing a claim under the Texas Whistleblower Act and a free-speech claim under the Texas Constitution. Court records show Moreno, an assistant vice president and comptroller of A&M-Kingsville, claimed that her supervisor, Thomas Saban, fired her for reporting to the A&M-Kingsville president that Saban’s daughter had received in-state tuition in violation of state law. Judge Manuel Banales, 105th Judicial District Court, granted A&M-Kingsville’s plea to the jurisdiction, which was later reversed by justices on the Thirteenth Court of Appeals of Texas, court papers say. On June 20, 2011, A&M-Kingsville filed a petition for review with the Texas Supreme Court, arguing that Moreno’s internal report falls short of what the Whistleblower Act requires: a good-faith report of a violation of law to an appropriate law enforcement authority. “We agree and accordingly dismiss Moreno’s suit,” states the high court’s per curiam opinion. “Accordingly, without hearing oral argument … we grant the petition for review, reverse the court of appeals’ judgment, and dismiss the case.” The university was represented in part Greg Abbott, attorney General of Texas. Moreno was represented in part by the Law Office of Gay E. Gilson in Corpus Christi. Appeals court case No. 13-10-00083-CV Supreme Court case No. 11-0469

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