SE Texas Record

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Ex-Houston housing head loses appeal protesting trial court's dismissal of election suit


By John Suayan | May 29, 2019

HOUSTON (SE Texas Record) – The Texas First District Court of Appeals has sided with a Harris County trial court’s dismissal ruling in favor of the city of Houston in an election case.

The three-judge panel, consisting of Justices Evelyn V. Keyes, Laura Carter Higley and Sarah Beth Landau issued a 19-page opinion May 21 affirming the Harris County District Court’s decision to dismiss appellant James Noteware’s lawsuit against the city and Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Noteware, the city’s ex- housing department director, initiated litigation over what he asserted "materially misleading" ballot language regarding Proposition A in the November 2017 elections. Prop A called for the issuance of $1.01 billion pension obligation bonds for the purpose of funding a portion of the unfunded liability of the city with respect to the Houston police officers’ pension system and the Houston municipal employees pension system as contemplated by the pension reform plan contained in Senate Bill 2190 adopted in the 85th legislative session in 2017.

The defendants successfully secured an order to dismiss Noteware’s claims based on the lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, which prompted the plaintiff to appeal.

According to the opinion, Noteware failed to sustain his arguments that “the trial court erred first in ruling the case was no longer justiciable, and second in ‘failing to grant’ his motion for summary judgment seeking a ruling that the ballot language was insufficient as a matter of law.”

“Because we conclude that the election contest is moot, we affirm the trial court’s judgment granting the city’s plea to the jurisdiction and dismissing the case,” the ruling stated.

Keyes wrote the opinion with Higley and Landau concurring.

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First Court of Appeals, Texas Harris County District Court

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