David Yates Mar. 21, 2016, 5:42pm


BEAUMONT – The Ninth Court of Appeals recently reversed a lower court’s ruling denying the city of Beaumont’s plea to the jurisdiction in a car wreck suit.

Last August, Chiquita Armstead filed suit against the city in Jefferson County District Court, seeking in excess of $250,000 in damages for injuries she allegedly sustained in an automobile collision that involved a vehicle owned by the city and driven by a Beaumont police officer.

Soon after, the city of Beaumont filed a plea to the jurisdiction, arguing Armstead failed to provide adequate pre-suit notice and that her claim was minor, court records show.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, denied the plea and the city appealed in November.

On March 17 justices reversed the ruling and rendered judgment in favor of the city, court records show.

Justices found that Armstead did indeed give inadequate notice and that an accident report issued following the collision did not state the city was at fault.

“Rather, the Accident Report establishes that Armstead was a passenger in a different vehicle, that there was another driver, and that the police officer concluded that the other driver hit the City’s vehicle,” the court’s opinion states, authored by Justice Leanne Johnson.

The following is a supplemental report offered by the officer involved in the collision: “As I entered the curve, I heard [a passenger] alert me to the fact that a vehicle was in the right hand lane moving toward my vehicle. I looked in my rear view mirror and I observed the vehicle make contact with the right back quarter panel of my vehicle.

“The impact was so minor that I asked [the other passengers] if the second vehicle just hit us.”

Chiquita Armstead is no stranger to filing suits at the Jefferson County courthouse.

In June 2010, she sued Yellow Rose Property Management claiming a porch she was sitting on collapsed while visiting her mother’s home in Beaumont.

Senior Assistant City Attorney Quentin Price represented the city.

Armstead was represented by attorney Jason Edwin Payne.

Trial case No. E197-427

Appeals Case No. 09-15-00480-CV

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