A trial is now underway between a well-known Beaumont attorney, who sued over the property value of his private airplane hangar, and the Jefferson County Appraisal District.
In May 2009, the county unsuccessfully moved for governmental immunity in a suit filed by plaintiff's attorney Glen Morgan, a managing partner in the Reaud, Morgan & Quinn law firm.
Six months after a failed JCAD appeal, pre-trial and jury selection in the case began Monday, Aug. 20, in Judge Donald Floyd's 172nd District Court.
Morgan sued the JCAD 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 times 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."
In his suit, 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."
On appeal, the county argued that Judge Floyd erred in denying its motion to dismiss for want of jurisdiction by failing to find that Morgan had timely filed his review of tax year 2006.
The JCAD had argued in its denied motion that Morgan's suit only complains of an appraisal value for the tax year 2005.
Court records show that Morgan filed a response on June 30, 2011, arguing that 2005 was a typographical error and that he has amended his petition to state tax year 2006, court papers say.
The JCAD further contended that Morgan failed to exhaust administrative remedies first.
On Feb. 9 the Ninth Court of Appeals issued an opinion affirming Floyd's order denying the county's plea to the jurisdiction regarding tax year 2006 on the land account and the hangar account, court records show.
The JCAD is represented in part by Nederland attorney Joseph Jannise Jr.
The case had been originally assigned to 58th District Judge Bob Wortham, a former Reaud, Morgan & Quinn attorney.
Case No. A177-646