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Governmental Immunity & Declaratory Judgment

Aug 15, 2013 — by Jeff Mundy
Tags: Civil Procedure Civil Rights

Sovereign immunity protects the State from lawsuits for money damages, and political subdivisions of the State are entitled to this immunity—referred to as governmental immunity—unless it has been waived.  An exception to governmental immunity exists when the plaintiff seeks declaratory relief against state officials who allegedly act without legal or statutory authority because "[a] state official's illegal or unauthorized actions are not acts of the State."  For a suit to fall within this "ultra vires" exception to governmental immunity, the suit "must not complain of a government officer's exercise of discretion, but rather must allege, and ultimately prove, that the officer acted without legal authority or failed to perform a purely ministerial act." 

County Court Jurisdiction & Pleading

Aug 13, 2013 — by Jeff Mundy
Tags: Civil Procedure

When the petition does not affirmatively demonstrate the absence of jurisdiction, the petition should be liberally construed in favor of jurisdiction.  Moreover, if the original petition is within the jurisdictional limits, but an amendment increases the amount in controversy above the court's jurisdictional limits, the court continues to have jurisdiction if the additional amount accrued because of the passage of time.   

Workers' Comp Lien - Choice of Law

Aug 12, 2013 — by Jeff Mundy
Tags: Civil Procedure


The local law of the state under whose workmen's compensation statute an employee has received an award for an injury determines what interest the person who paid the award has in any recovery for tort or wrongful death that the employee may obtain against a third person on account of the same injury.

Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws § 185 (1971).

Insurance Company of State of Pennsylvania v. Neese, (Tex. App. - Dallas, 2013).

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