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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Texas appeals court dismisses claim against city of Houston in faulty traffic light case

State Court

By Marian Johns | Sep 9, 2019

HOUSTON — A Texas appeals court has dismissed claims against the city of Houston in a suit alleging the city's negligence with a faulty traffic light at an intersection where a man was injured in a vehicle accident when a driver ran a red light.

According to the Aug. 27 Texas 14th Court of Appeals filing, the city of Houston filed the appeal challenging a trial court's denial of a plea to the jurisdiction in a case filed by the appellee Francisco Cruz. 

Cruz, who was injured in a 2015 vehicle accident, sued the driver of the vehicle who ran a red light and a year later, added the City of Houston as a third-party defendant, according to the Court of Appeals filing. The City argues Cruz did not give notice of the claim within 90 days of his accident required under the City's charter or six months under the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA) section 101.101(a). Cruz argues the city was aware of the malfunctioning traffic light and documented more than 311 service requests for a faulty traffic light at the intersection where his accident occurred. 

"There is no evidence in the record that the City received timely notice of Cruz’s claim under section 101.101(a) or had actual notice of the claim under section 101.101(c)," Justice Frances Bourliot wrote in the court's opinion.  "Lack of notice is an incurable jurisdictional defect. Therefore, we reverse the trial court’s order denying the City’s plea to the jurisdiction and render judgment dismissing Cruz’s claims against the City for lack of subject matter jurisdiction," Justice Bourliot wrote. 

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