Buholtz v. Texas Department of Transportation, 091619 TXCA5, 05-18-01284-CV

Docket Nº:05-18-01284-CV
Opinion Judge:ADA BROWN, JUSTICE.
Party Name:KENNETH LEO BUHOLTZ, Appellant v. TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Appellee
Judge Panel:Before Justices Brown, Whitehill, and Schenck.
Case Date:September 16, 2019
Court:Court of Appeals of Texas
 
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KENNETH LEO BUHOLTZ, Appellant

v.

TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Appellee

No. 05-18-01284-CV

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas

September 16, 2019

On Appeal from the County Court at Law No. 6 Collin County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 006-02337-2018

Before Justices Brown, Whitehill, and Schenck.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ADA BROWN, JUSTICE.

Pro se appellant Kenneth Leo Buholtz appeals the trial court's order dismissing his claims against the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for lack of jurisdiction. We affirm the trial court's order.

Buholtz owns 3.75 acres of property in McKinney in Collin County, Texas. In 2018, the State filed a petition for condemnation seeking possession of 16, 509 square feet of Buholtz's property to be used for expansion of FM 2478. At that time, Buholtz was an inmate in federal prison. (He was recently released to a halfway house.) The eminent domain proceeding is not yet final.1 Meanwhile, Buholtz filed the instant, related suit against TxDOT and its right-of-way agent Halff Associates. His sole cause of action is fraud by misrepresentation. Buholtz alleged he received an appraisal/offer for his property ten days before any counteroffer was due. In response, Buholtz sent Halff a letter raising various complaints about the valuation of his property. He later received a revised offer, but he still had concerns about it and rejected it. He alleged that during the condemnation process, defendants made material representations they knew were false. For example, Buholtz complained about defendants' representation there was a "HazMat" site near his property and also their representation that "far away" properties were comparable for valuation purposes. He alleged defendants made these misrepresentations to justify their low offer and that the misrepresentations impacted his ability to present a counteroffer. In addition to damages based on the market value of his property, Buholtz sought exemplary damages.

TxDOT filed an "Original Answer, Plea to the Jurisdiction, and Request for Disclosures" in which it asserted a general denial and also that it had immunity from suit and liability...

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