State ex rel. Kimmons v. City of Azle, 18133

Decision Date04 October 1979
Docket NumberNo. 18133,18133
Citation588 S.W.2d 666
PartiesSTATE of Texas ex rel. Jack O. KIMMONS et al., Appellants, v. CITY OF AZLE, Texas, et al., Appellees.
CourtTexas Court of Appeals

MASSEY, Chief Justice.

In a proceeding in the nature of Quo Warranto the State was denied relief it sought by a summary judgment granted to defendants/respondents City of Azle and its officials. The State appealed.

We affirm.

Giving rise to the complaint of those who are the relators, upon the petition of whom the State (through the District Attorney of Tarrant County) sought and obtained leave to file the suit, was Azle's enactment of a certain ordinance purporting to annex territory which belonged to relators. Attack was upon the authority of Azle, as the home rule city it claimed to be, to annex any territory, let alone that as to which relators held title.

Premise for the contention of the State erroneously lies in its interpretation of the former opinion of this court in State ex rel. City of Azle v. City of Sanctuary, 467 S.W.2d 211 (Tex.Civ.App. Fort Worth 1971, writ ref'd n. r. e.). Interestingly, the State committed itself in that case upon the relation of the City of Azle, and by Quo warranto proceedings attacked another municipality's incorporation as such. Here the State has committed itself upon the relation of certain individual relators and by Quo warranto proceedings has attacked Azle's corporate existence, including its existence as a home rule city since an election held on April 3, 1971.

To be recognized is the fact that in Quo warranto proceedings the presence of the relators along with the State is of no consequence in material aspect, for the Real Party is the State. Relators have no authority to bring suit nor to appeal from any adverse judgment in a case where there might be attack on ground of failure to follow statutory provision of law as in establishing territorial limitations, etc. and no more, for in such a case it would be the exclusive province of the State pursuant to Quo warranto proceedings. Walling v. North Central Texas Mun. Water Auth., 162 Tex. 527, 348 S.W.2d 532 (1961); 47 Tex.Jur.2d, Quo Warranto, §§ 2, 4, 15, 27 (1963) and others of the sections indicative that, at most, the relators are mere nominal parties in a case where the questions involved are not such as engage individual rights as distinguished from their rights as members of the general public. One result of this is that, insofar as the instant case is concerned, propriety of the summary judgment of the trial court is tested exactly as though none other than the State had challenged Azle. Furthermore, the same rule applies to that case already mentioned, State ex rel. City of Azle v. City of Sanctuary, 467 S.W.2d 211. There, and by the decision in that case, Azle is no way bound, although the State might be.

However, in State ex rel. City of Azle it must be noticed that the State was encumbered with "the laboring oar" and was obliged to establish facts entitling it to prevail as against the City of Sancutary. One of the facts it was obliged to establish and have found in the case, as a predicate to any right to relief, was exhibited in our earlier opinion where it was stated: In order to prevail in this cause it was essential for the State to establish that Azle was a city under the Municipal Annexation Act, i. e., under Art. 970a, § 2, subd. A, of which defines a city as an incorporated city, town or village. This it failed to so. It did not allege that Azle was incorporated. Azle's City Secretary testified that Azle was not incorporated.

On the foregoing: It is obvious that the testimony of the Secretary that Azle (in 1969) was not incorporated is, as applied to the instant litigation, both inconclusive and immaterial. Azle was a relator in that earlier case. If there was no other testimony in that case perhaps the State, the real party, became bound; but if so it was bound to City of Sanctuary, under conditions existent at time of the trial, and not to Azle. There the parties adversary were the State and City of Sanctuary. In the instant case the parties adversary are the State and Azle. Furthermore, on its face the opinion of this court in such earlier case shows that the reason the State was held to have failed to establish any right to relief was its failure to prove that Azle was a city. Without that fact proved there was absence of proof Azle had any authority as an incorporated municipality so as to possess authority as such under the Municipal Annexation Act, etc. The case stands for no more than this. In the instant litigation against Azle, the State can claim no benefit from its failure to prevail in its earlier case against another municipality upon the relation of Azle. Language of the Justices of our Supreme Court in the case discussed in the paragraph to follow make this fact plain and clear.

State, through its Attorney General, opposed Azle upon an occasion subsequent to State ex rel. City of Azle, the decision in which was made by this court on April 23, 1971. Six months later, on October 20, 1971, (in City of Azle v. Martin, 474 S.W.2d 687 (Tex.1971)), there was the decision of a suit by Azle to have the court mandamus Crawford C. Martin, in his official capacity as the State's Attorney General, to approve the issuance of Azle's revenue bonds. The Supreme Court held that, despite the decision on April 23, 1971, (by this court in State ex rel. City of Azle ), Azle was and had been continuously since the occurrence of events of 1958 set out in the opinion, a duly incorporated city, first as a general law city and then, later, as a home rule city (on September 21, 1971). Without mentioning the events set forth by the Supreme Court opinion of October 20, 1971, save the fact that they included references to validating legislation relative to Azle's incorporation, such court established the fact of Azle's existence as a duly incorporated city and as a home rule city when its home rule charter was adopted (Azle ordinance of adoption was September 21, 1971), pursuant to Texas' home rule amendment, Tex.Const. art. XI, § 5. We think it not to be doubted that, except founded upon a premise of some change of circumstances or conditions material to the question of Azle's continued existence as a home rule city, (and even in a summary judgment case it would be necessary to be established by evidence of the State in the event it would challenge the fact) the Azle status as an incorporated home rule city would be presumed to have continued to persist from and after October 20, 1971.

In the discharge of its summary judgment burden Azle perhaps went much further than required by law in view of the Supreme Court opinion in City of Azle v. Martin (on October 20, 1971). By affidavit and authenticated records it not only established all those things established for the benefit of the Supreme Court but went even further. There was proved a succession of ordinances by Azle authorizing issuance of municipal bonds which were approved by subsequent Attorneys General; ordinances of annexation and disannexation in alteration of municipal boundaries; and instruments of agreement...

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6 cases
  • Honts v. Shaw
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • 8 Septiembre 1998
    ...election are mandatory because they exist only by and to the extent authorized by statute. See State v. City of Azle, 588 S.W.2d 666, 670 (Tex.Civ.App.--Fort Worth 1979, writ ref'd n.r.e.) (holding failure to comply with thirty-day notice requirement barred attack on election). Relying on c......
  • City of Granite Shoals v. Winder
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • 19 Marzo 2009
    ...contest. In so arguing, the City relies on the Fort Worth Court of Appeals' decision in State ex rel. Kimmons v. City of Azle, 588 S.W.2d 666 (Tex.App.-Fort Worth 1979, writ ref'd n.r.e.). There, the State attacked the city's "corporate existence, including its existence as a home rule city......
  • Goodman v. Summit at West Rim, Ltd.
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • 11 Septiembre 1997
    ... ... Weaver, Individually, Appellees ... CITY OF AUSTIN, Texas and Planning Commission of the ... routinely lose jurisdiction over ancillary state claims if the federal claim conferring ... ...
  • Northwest Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Carroll Indep. Sch. Dist.
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • 16 Febrero 2012
    ...applies"). 21.Nichols v. Seei, 97 S.W.3d 882, 883 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2003, no pet.); State ex rel. Kimmons v. City of Azle, 588 S.W.2d 666, 670 (Tex. Civ. App.—Fort Worth 1979, writ ref'd n.r.e.). 22.See Clary v. Hurst, 104 Tex. 423, 431, 138 S.W. 566, 571 (1911) (referring to an election co......
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