David Yates Feb. 16, 2016, 4:37pm


BEAUMONT - The Ninth Court of Appeals recently reinstated a civil case against Jefferson County alleging wrongful foreclosure of a tax sale.

As previously reported, Charles Kirkwood filed suit against W. Properties LLC and Jefferson County in Jefferson County District Court on Nov. 12, 2013.

Kirkwood, the owner of a property located at 2356 Briarcliff Drive in Beaumont, filed a writ of review after his property was allegedly sold at a sheriff’s sale without adequate notice.

Court records show that after Kirkwood’s motion for a new trial was granted last year, the county filed motions to dismiss for lack of standing and for lack of jurisdiction, which were both granted.

On July 29 Kirkwood filed a pro se appeal with the Ninth Court, seeking injunctive relief to prevent the county from denying him possession of his real property.

Seven months later, justices reversed the trial court and remanded the case for further proceedings, finding that while Kirkwood may not be able to maintain a suit for damages against the county, he can maintain a suit for equitable relief based on an alleged deprivation of his property without due process.

“Because governmental immunity does not bar Kirkwood’s due process claim for equitable relief, the trial court erred by granting the County’s motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction,” the Feb. 11 opinion states.

“Under these circumstances, we sustain Kirkwood’s complaint challenging the dismissal of his lawsuit, we reverse the trial court’s orders granting the County’s motions to dismiss, and we remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

Case background

In January 2012, the county filed suit to collect overdue property taxes but named Sara Gleason, the previous owner, as the defendant.

Kirkwood acknowledges that his property taxes were in arrears but says he was never notified that the house would be put up for sale, since Sara Gleason was the named defendant in the lawsuit.

Kirkwood claims that in August 2010 the property was sold without his knowledge to W. Properties LLC.

Kirkwood says Jefferson County should have known he was the owner of the property because it was titled in his name, and they should have notified him about the lawsuit and the sale. Instead, Kirkwood claims he found out about the sale when W. Properties LLC asked him to vacate.

Kirkwood wanted to void the sale and get his property back.

He originally asked the court to vacate the judgment, void the Writ of Execution and grant an injunction to stop W. Properties from taking any more steps to remove Kirkwood from the property.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, is presiding over the case in the trial court.

Case No. E194-967

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