law-due-process claim, violation of due process due course of law under Texas Constitution | entitlement to
notice of hearing | state constitutional challenges |

Due Process Challenge to August 7, 2000 Hearing

In their first issue, the Goffneys contend that the trial court erred in entering judgment in favor of the City and
the taxing units because the City violated the Master’s constitutional right as an “owner” of the property to
procedural due process by failing to notify him of the August 7, 2000 hearing regarding the demolition of the
apartments. The Goffneys argue that they have standing to assert the Master’s procedural due process
claims because their “equitable” title to the property merged with the Master’s “legal” title to the property at
the conclusion of the Rabson litigation.

Additionally, the Goffneys contend that the City violated the CURB ordinance’s requirement that a hearing be
conducted no later than 90 days after a demolition. As a result, the Goffneys argue, the City’s hearing officer
lacked subject matter jurisdiction to enter any orders concerning the property at the August 7, 2000 hearing.
For these reasons, the Goffneys contend that the entire hearing was unlawful and any order issued by the
hearing officer concerning the demolition and the assessment of demolition costs cannot serve as the basis
for the trial court’s judgment against them. We find these arguments unpersuasive.

The Goffneys have
no standing to assert any constitutional due process rights belonging to the Master.
Generally, only the entity that has not been properly served with notice has standing to challenge the
violation of its procedural due process rights. See Sw. Constr. Receivables, Ltd. v. Regions Bank, 162 S.W.
3d 859, 864 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 2005, pet. denied). With the single exception of the principle allowing an
insurance company to stand in the shoes of its insured, we have found nothing in our statutes or Texas
caselaw that supports the Goffneys’ position that a defendant in a civil suit has standing to challenge, on
procedural due process grounds, whether a third party has been properly given notice of a hearing; nor have
the parties directed this Court’s attention to any such authority. See id. No evidence in the record indicates
that the Master assigned his right to assert such a claim to the Goffneys.

Based on the absence of authority and evidence in support of the Goffneys’ novel standing argument, we
reject their attempt to assert the Master’s procedural due process claims.  Nor were the Goffneys personally
deprived of procedural due process as a result of the lack of notice to the Master. The record reflects that
the lack of notice to the Master did not, in any way, prevent the Goffneys from receiving notice or having an
opportunity to air their complaints at that hearing regarding the City’s conduct. It is undisputed that the
Goffneys received actual notice that the City demolished the Sakowitz Street Apartments because they posed
“an immediate danger to the health, life or safety” of persons, and that a hearing “concerning the actions
taken” regarding this property by the City was set for August 7, 2000 at 8:30 a.m. Footnote The notice
advised the Goffneys that, at the hearing, they could “appear in person and/or be represented by counsel”
and that they would be able to “present testimony and cross examine all witnesses” at the hearing. The
Goffneys do not complain on appeal that the City’s hearing officer prevented them from exercising any of
these rights.

Finally, the City’s failure to hold the hearing within the CURB ordinance’s 90-day time limit for setting
“emergency” hearings does not deprive the City hearing officer of subject matter jurisdiction to enter orders
regarding the Sakowitz Street Apartments. Footnote The CURB ordinance creates the position of hearing
official and grants him certain powers and responsibilities regarding demolished properties. Specifically,
pursuant to CURB sections10-317, 10-365 and 10-432, the hearing official designated by the Houston Chief
of Police, is empowered to conduct and issue rulings in the type of post-deprivation hearing now challenged
by the Goffneys. See Houston, Tex., Comprehensive Urban Rehab. And Bldg. Min. Standards Code, ch. 10,
art. IX, §§§ 317, 365, 432 (2009). Nowhere does the CURB ordinance state that the 90-day time limit is a
jurisdictional requirement for a post-deprivation hearing like the August 7, 2000 hearing held in this case.
See, e.g., Albertson’s, Inc. v. Sinclair, 984 S.W.2d 958, 961 (Tex. 1999) (holding that “just because a
statutory requirement is mandatory does not mean that compliance with it is jurisdictional.”). Accordingly, the
City’s failure to hold the post-deprivation hearing within 90 days of the first demolition does not deprive the
City’s hearing officer of subject matter jurisdiction regarding the Sakowitz Street Apartments.

Since the 90-day limit for setting hearings under CURB is not jurisdictional, the Goffneys must have
presented their arguments regarding the City’s alleged failure to comply with this time limit to the trial court, or
these arguments are waived on appeal. See Hassan v. Greater Houston Transp. Co., 237 S.W.3d 727, 731
(Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2007, pet. denied) (holding arguments regarding compliance with mandatory,
nonjurisdictional requirements can be waived if not timely asserted).

Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 33.1 requires that a party present the complaint to the trial court in a
manner that states “the grounds for the ruling . . . with sufficient specificity to make the trial court aware of the
complaint, unless the specific grounds [are] apparent from the context.” Tex. R. App. P. 33.1(a)(1)(A).

A review of the record reveals that the Goffneys did not present any arguments to the trial court regarding
the time limit for setting emergency hearings, nor did they reference the pertinent section of the ordinance.
Footnote Therefore, the Goffneys did not preserve this issue for appeal. See id. Accordingly, the Goffneys’
first issue is overruled.

C.      Due Process Challenge to sections 373 and 395 of CURB

In their second issue, the Goffneys argue that sections 373 and 395 of CURB violate the procedural due
process requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Texas
Constitution. Section 373, Article IX, Chapter 10 of the City of Houston’s Code of Ordinances sets forth the
administrative expenses of inspecting buildings, locating owners, conducting hearings, and issuing notices
and orders. Footnote Section 395 of the ordinance provides that the cost of the work and the administrative
expenses incurred in vacating, securing, repairing or demolishing a dangerous building shall constitute a lien
on the property. Footnote The Goffneys contend that these ordinances are unconstitutional because they fail
to provide procedural due process, specifically “an opportunity to promptly receive actual notice of the
charges for demolition or any other costs associated with the demolition as soon as the costs occur rather
than simply receiving constructive notice of the filing of a lien.” The Goffneys also argue that these
ordinances fail to provide property owners with an opportunity to be heard regarding any cost discrepancies.
The City and the taxing units respond that, pursuant to Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 33.1, the
Goffneys have waived these arguments on appeal because they failed to present them to the trial court. We

The Goffneys have not preserved error regarding their constitutional due process challenges to sections 373
and 395 of CURB because they failed to present these arguments to the trial court. See Tex. R. App. P. 33.1
(a)(1)(A). The record refects that, at trial, the Goffneys did not plead or argue that these ordinances violated
either the Texas or United States Constitution.

Notwithstanding their arguments on appeal, the Goffneys did not present any arguments to the trial court that
made the court aware that they were raising a due process challenge as to the mechanism by which costs
are imposed under the ordinance or as to the ordinance itself. In their “Original Answer to Plaintiffs’ Second
Amended Petition for Taxes and Claim for City of Houston Special Assessments,” and in their counterclaim,
the Goffneys make only one passing mention of due process. In their original answer, the Goffneys’ complain
of the City’s failure to notify them of the emergency hearing. The Goffneys’ counterclaim addresses the City’s
failure to send notice of the demolishment and the demolition lien to the correct address. Such solitary and
passing references to due process without any specific citation to caselaw were insufficient to alert the trial
court or the opposing parties that the Goffneys were asserting a constitutional complaint regarding the
ordinances themselves. See Lee v. City of Houston, No. 14-05-00366-CV, 2006 WL 2254401, at *4 (Tex. App.
—Houston [14th Dist.] Aug. 8, 2006, pet. denied) (mem. op.) (holding single reference to due process
insufficient to assert due process challenge on appeal). Furthermore, the due process arguments the
Goffneys raise on appeal, which concern the ordinance itself, do not comport with the due process
arguments they attempted to raise in the trial court regarding notice of hearing and demolition. See Wolfahrt
v. Holloway, 172 S.W.3d 630, 639–40 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist. 2005], pet. denied) (holding that to
preserve error, party’s argument in trial court must comport with argument on appeal). Accordingly, error was
not preserved under Rule 33.1 and we overrule the Goffneys’ second issue. Footnote

Goffney v. HISD (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Jul. 30, 2009)(Hanks)
delinquent property tax suit, standing to appeal, preservation of error re: constitutional challenge, due
process challenge, inadequate briefing results in waiver of argument on appeal)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Hanks  
Before Justices Keyes, Hanks and Bland  
01-08-00063-CV Willie H. Goffney and Gladys R. Goffney v. Houston Independent School District   
Appeal from 165th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge:
Hon. Elizabeth Ray

Lambertz v. Robinson (HCAD) (Tex.App.- Houston [14th.] Mar. 25, 2010)(per curiam)
tax protest appeal and due process, administrative remedies exclusive remedy)
AFFIRMED: Per Curiam      
Before Justices Brock Yates, Seymore and Brown   
14-09-00650-CV Robert W. Lambertz v. Jim Robinson and Oliver Esch    
Appeal from 333rd District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge:
Joseph ("Tad") Halbach   

Expo Motorcars, LLC v. HCAD (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist.] Jul. 23, 2009)(Jennings)
(tax protests suit, constitutionality, due process, motor vehicle inventory value)
Justice Jennings   
Before Justices Jennings, Keyes and Higley  
01-08-00473-CV  Expo Motorcars, LLC. v. Harris County Appraisal District, Harris County Appraisal Review
Board   Appeal from
270th District Court of Harris County

Verm v. HCAD (Tex.App.- Houston [1st. Dist.] July 1, 2008)(Yates) (property tax appeal, no violation of due
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Brock Yates  
Before Justices Brock Yates, Guzman and Brown
14-06-01046-CV Ray A Verm & Jane Verm, as the Property Owners and the Property Owners v. Harris
County Appraisal District and the Appraisal Review Board of Harris County Appraisal District
Appeal from 190th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court
Judge: Jennifer Elrod Walker  
We cannot imagine how the [property owners] were deprived of due process when they were given the opportunity to present
their arguments to a legal panel and they reached an agreement fully satisfying their stated contentions.  Sondock, 231 S.W.3d
at 70.  The Verms presented their protest to the panel, were provided a hearing before the panel on the matter, and raised no
further complaints after the HCAD representative concurred with their proposed property valuation.  Accordingly, we find the
Verms were afforded due process.  See id.; see also Hartman, 251 S.W.3d at 601 (holding property owners who had
opportunity to be heard before appraisal review board were provided due process); BPAC Tex., LP, 2004 WL 2422033, at *3
(holding that when property owner chose to reach agreement with HCAD, it was not deprived of its statutory due process right
to appeal appraisal board's order because agreement, not order, determined outcome). We affirm the trial court's judgment.

Mann v. HCAD (Tex. App. - Houston [1st Dist.] Apr. 17, 2008)(Radack)
(tax appeal, unequally and excessively appraised, SJ for taxing authorities affirmed, no due process violation)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Chief Justice Radack  
Before Chief Justice Radack, Justices Jennings and Bland
01-07-00436-CV Paul M. Mann and Carolyn S. Mann v. Harris County Appraisal District and the Appraisal
Review Board of Harris County Appraisal District
Appeal from 280th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge:
Hon. Tony Lindsay

Tax Protester must exhaust available administrative remedy before filing suit for judicial review
HCAD v. Blue Flash Express, LLC (Tex.App.- Houston [ 1st Dist.] May 10, 2007)(Taft)
[tax appeal,
suit for judicial review, exhaustion of administrative remedies, due process, notice]
Before Justices Taft, Alcala and Hanks
01-06-00783-CV The Harris County Appraisal District and the Harris County Appraisal Review Board v. Blue
Flash Express, LLC, City of La Porte and La Porte Independent School District, and San Jacinto Community
College District
Appeal from 234th District Court of Harris County  (
Judge Reece Rondon)

In Re Brownhill (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Jun. 7, 2007)(Edelman)(child support contempt)
child support enforcement, contempt order void, due process denied, ability-to-pay defense]
MOTION OR WRIT GRANTED: Opinion by Justice Edelman
Before Justices Brock Yates, Edelman and Seymore
14-07-00346-CV In Re: James Steven Brownhill