Land Use Law

Land Use lawyer Austin Texas

Jan 3, 2013 — by Jeff Mundy
Tags: Land Use


Land Use Law - Inverse Condemnation


Inverse Condemnation

The Texas Constitution prohibits the State from taking, damaging, or destroying an individual's property, for public use, without adequate compensation. See TEX. CONST. art. I, § 17. Inverse condemnation occurs when the government takes property for public use without proper condemnation proceedings, and the property owner attempts to recover some type of compensation for that taking. Park v. City of San Antonio, 230 S.W.3d 860, 867 (Tex. App. -- El Paso 2007, pet. denied). To establish an inverse condemnation claim, the property owner must show: (1) an intentional governmental act; (2) that resulted in the taking, damaging, or destroying of the owner's property; (3) for public use. Id. Accordingly, to assert a valid Article I takings claim, the claimant must first prove an ownership in the property taken. See TEX. CONST. art. I, § 17; State v. Fiesta Mart, Inc., 233 S.W.3d 50, 54 (Tex. App. -- Houston [14th Dist.] 2007, pet. denied).


Summary Judgment Procedure

We review a trial court's summary judgment de novo. Mann Frankfort Stein & Lipp Advisors, Inc. v. Fielding, 289 S.W.3d 844, 848 (Tex. 2009). Our review is limited to consideration of the evidence presented to the trial court. Mathis v. Restoration Builders, Inc., 231 S.W.3d 47, 52 (Tex. App. -- Houston [14th Dist.] 2007, no pet.). When a summary judgment fails to specify the grounds that the trial court relied upon for its ruling, we may affirm the judgment if any of the grounds advanced is meritorious. Carr v. Brasher, 776 S.W.2d 567, 569 (Tex. 1989); Prize Energy Resources, L.P. v. Cliff Hoskins, Inc., 345 S.W.3d 537, 556 (Tex. App. -- San Antonio 2011, no pet.).

A no-evidence motion for summary judgment is essentially a pretrial motion for directed verdict, and we apply the same legal sufficiency standard. Gray v. Woodville Health Care Center, 225 S.W.3d 613, 616 (Tex. App. -- El Paso 2006, pet. denied). Accordingly, we review the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-movant and disregard any contrary evidence and inferences. King Ranch, Inc. v. Chapman, 118 S.W.3d 742, 750-51 (Tex. 2003). A movant for a no-evidence summary judgment must state which essential elements are without any evidentiary support. Aguilar v. Morales, 162 S.W.3d 825, 834 (Tex. App. -- El Paso 2005, pet. denied).The non-movant must then produce evidence raising a genuine issue of material fact on each challenged element. TEX. R. CIV. P. 166a(i); Aguilar, 162 S.W.3d at 834. The non-movant meets his burden when he produces more than a mere scintilla of evidence supporting each challenged element. See Gray, 225 S.W.3d at 616. More than a scintilla of evidence exists when the evidence would permit reasonable and fair-minded people to differ in their conclusions. King Ranch, 118 S.W.3d at 751. However, less than a scintilla of evidence exists when the evidence is so weak that it does no more than create a surmise or a suspicion of a fact. Id.

A party seeking a traditional summary judgment bears the burden of showing that no genuine issue of material fact exists and that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. TEX. R. CIV. P. 166a(c); Diversicare Gen. Partner., Inc. v. Rubio, 185 S.W.3d 842, 846 (Tex. 2005). If the movant meets this burden, the burden then shifts to the non-movant to produce evidence raising a genuine issue of material fact. City of Houston v. Clear Creek Basin Auth., 589 S.W.2d 671, 678-79 (Tex. 1979). A defendant who conclusively negates a single essential element of a cause of action or conclusively establishes an affirmative defense is entitled to summary judgment on that claim. Frost Nat. Bank v. Fernandez, 315 S.W.3d 494, 508-09 (Tex. 2010).

Singer v. State of Texas (Tex. App. - El Paso, 2012)

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