Texas Indus. Traffic League v. Railroad Com'n of Texas

Decision Date09 June 1982
Docket NumberNo. C-1120,C-1120
Citation633 S.W.2d 821
CourtTexas Supreme Court
PartiesTEXAS INDUSTRIAL TRAFFIC LEAGUE et al., Petitioners, v. RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS et al., Respondents.

Deborah A. Chadbourne, Irving, Daniel J. Sweeney and John M. Cutler, Jr., Washington, D. C., for petitioners.

Mark White, Atty. Gen., Phyllis Schunk, Asst. Atty. Gen., Austin, Brooks & Brooks, Frank C. Brooks, Dallas, Robinson, Felts, Starnes & Latting, Philip Robinson and John R. Whisenhunt, Austin, for respondents.


This is an appeal brought by Texas Industrial Traffic League, et al. (hereinafter "the Shippers") from a decision of the Railroad Commission of Texas (hereinafter "the Commission"). The District Court of Travis County affirmed the decision of the Commission. The Court of Appeals held the Shippers had not proven standing to appeal, reversed the decision of the district court and remanded the cause to that court so that further evidence on the issue of standing might be received. 628 S.W.2d 187. We hold the issue of standing was not properly before the court of appeals. Pursuant to rule 483, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, we reverse the judgment of the court of appeals and remand the cause to that court for a decision on the merits.

The Common Carrier Motor Freight Association (hereinafter "the Carriers") applied to the Commission for an increase in intrastate motor carrier rates. The Shippers intervened in the Commission proceedings and opposed the requested increase. After hearings, the Commission granted the Carriers an average rate increase of 8.1%.

The Shippers appealed the decision of the Commission to the District Court of Travis County. The Carriers intervened in the appeal. The Commission and the Carriers both filed only general denials in response to the Shippers' petition for judicial review. No written motion of any kind challenging the standing of the Shippers was filed by any party. Standing was mentioned only in oral argument. The district court rendered judgment affirming the decision of the Commission on its merits.

The court of appeals held that although the issue of the Shippers' standing had not been raised by motion in the district court, it could be raised on appeal to the court of appeals because an objection to lack of a party's justiciable interest in the suit raises questions of fundamental error. The court of appeals, after lengthy discourse, proceeded to hold the Shippers had not proven standing under a test created by that court. The judgment of the district court was reversed by the court of appeals and the cause was remanded to the district court for further evidence on the issue of standing.

Fundamental error survives today only in rare instances in which the record shows on its face that the court lacked jurisdiction or that the public interest is directly and adversely affected as that interest is declared in the statutes or Constitution of Texas. Pirtle v. Gregory, 629 S.W.2d 919 (Tex.1982). Failure of the party bringing suit to show a justiciable interest in the controversy is not a matter of fundamental error. Coffee v. Rice University, 403 S.W.2d 340 (Tex.1966); Sabine River Authority v. Willis, 369 S.W.2d 348 (Tex.1963). 1 A party's lack of justiciable interest must be pointed out to the trial court (or the district court sitting as an appellate court) in a written plea in abatement, and a ruling thereon must be...

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47 cases
  • Texas Ass'n of Business v. Texas Air Control Bd.
    • United States
    • Texas Supreme Court
    • March 3, 1993
    ...time on appeal by the parties or by the court. We are aware that this holding conflicts with Texas Industrial Traffic League v. Railroad Commission, 633 S.W.2d 821, 823 (Tex.1982) (per curiam). 9 The analysis that leads us to the conclusion we reach here, however, compels us to overrule Tex......
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    • Texas Court of Appeals
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    ...interests and viewpoints in determining where the public interest lies and how it may be furthered”), rev'd on other grounds, 633 S.W.2d 821 (Tex.1982). The Commission responds that the Legislature intended section 5.115's “affected person” definition to do precisely the opposite. It observ......
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    ...the statutes and constitution of this state. Cox v. Johnson, 638 S.W.2d 867, 868 (Tex.1982) (per curiam); Texas Indus. Traffic League v. Railroad Com'n, 633 S.W.2d 821, 823 (Tex.1982). We note that in both the McFarland and Burkitt partition cases discussed previously, the trial court was m......
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    ...S.W.2d 7, 8 (Tex.1986); Grounds v. Tolar Independent School District, 707 S.W.2d 889, 893 (Tex.1986); Texas Industrial Traffic League v. Railroad Commission, 633 S.W.2d 821, 823 (Tex.1982); Ramsey v. Dunlop, 146 Tex. 196, 205 S.W.2d 979, 985 (1947); Elbar, Inc. v. Claussen, 774 S.W.2d 45, 5......
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2 books & journal articles
    • United States
    • Notre Dame Law Review Vol. 97 No. 2, January 2022
    • January 1, 2022
    ...explains or changes a previous event or attaches a new significance to it."). (127) Tex. Indus. Traffic League v. R.R. Comm'n of Tex., 633 S.W.2d 821, 823 (Tex. 1982) (per (128) See id. at 822-23. (129) SeeCoffee v. William Marsh Rice Univ., 403 S.W.2d 340, 347-48 (Tex. 1966) ("The interven......
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