Texas Dept. Parks & Wildlife v. Miranda, 04-00-00736-CV

CourtCourt of Appeals of Texas
Citation55 S.W.3d 648
Docket NumberNo. 04-00-00736-CV,04-00-00736-CV
Parties(Tex.App.-San Antonio 2001) TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND WILDLIFE, Appellant v. Maria MIRANDA and Ray Miranda, Appellees
Decision Date30 April 2001

Page 648

55 S.W.3d 648 (Tex.App.-San Antonio 2001)
Maria MIRANDA and Ray Miranda, Appellees
No. 04-00-00736-CV
Court of Appeals of Texas, San Antonio
April 30, 2001
Rehearing Overruled May 24, 2001.

From the 38th Judicial District Court, Uvalde County, Texas Trial Court No. 99-05-21,501-CV Honorable Mickey R. Pennington, Judge Presiding

Page 649

Copyrighted Material Omitted

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Harry Deckard, Assistant Attorney General, Austin, for Appellant.

Jerry Don Evans, Law Office of Jerry Don Evans, R. Emmett Harris, Uvalde, fro Appellee.

Sitting:Catherine Stone, Justice, Paul W. Green, Justice, Karen Angelini, Justice

Opinion by: Catherine Stone, Justice

Maria Miranda and her husband, Ray Miranda, sued the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife ("Department") for personal injuries Maria sustained when a tree limb fell on her head at Garner State Park. The Department appeals the trial court's order denying its plea to the jurisdiction. In its sole issue, the Department contends that the trial court erred in denying its plea to the jurisdiction because the Mirandas have failed to state a valid cause of action in their petition for which they can recover in view of the Department's limited liability under the Texas Tort Claims Act and the recreational use statute. We overrule the Department's contention and affirm the trial court's order.

Standard of Review

"A plea to the jurisdiction challenges the trial court's authority to determine the subject matter of a specific cause of action." Rylander v. Caldwell, 23 S.W.3d 132, 135 (Tex. App. Austin 2000, no pet.). "A plea to the jurisdiction is a dilatory plea, the purpose of which is to defeat a cause of action without regard to whether the claims asserted have merit." Bland Ind. Sch. Dist. v. Blue, 34 S.W.3d 547, 554 (Tex. 2000). "[T]he plea should be decided without delving into the merits of the case." Id. "The purpose of a dilatory plea is not to force the plaintiffs to preview their case on the merits but to establish a reason why the merits of the plaintiffs' claims should never be reached." Id. Evidence can be heard in resolving a dilatory plea, but "the proper function of a dilatory plea does not authorize an inquiry so far into the substance of the claims presented

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that plaintiffs are required to put on their case simply to establish jurisdiction." Id.

We review a trial court's ruling on a plea to the trial court's subject matter jurisdiction de novo. Herring v. Welborn, 27 S.W.3d 132, 136 (Tex. App. San Antonio 2000, pet. denied); Rylander, 23 S.W.3d at 135. We accept all allegations in the Mirandas' pleadings as true to determine whether an incurable...

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1 cases
  • Texas Dept. Parks and Wildlife v. Miranda
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • 2 Abril 2004
    ...because the Department did not allege that the Mirandas' pleadings were a sham for the purpose of wrongfully obtaining jurisdiction. 55 S.W.3d 648, 652. In accord with our decision in Bland Independent School District v. Blue, 34 S.W.3d 547 (Tex.2000), we hold that the trial court in this c......

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