law-standing case law from Houston Courts of Appeals | standing for property tax protest purposes |
legal standing to bring appeal |
Standing is a constitutional prerequisite to maintaining a suit under Texas law. Tex. Ass'n of Bus. v. Tex. Air
Control Bd., 852 S.W.2d 440, 444 (Tex.1993). Standing, as a necessary component of a court's subject-
matter jurisdiction, cannot be conferred by consent or waiver and can be raised for the first time on appeal.
Id. at 443; see Mapco, Inc. v. Forrest, 795 S.W.2d 700, 703 (Tex.1990); In re Guardianship of Erickson, 208
S.W.3d 737, 740 (Tex.App.-Texarkana 2006, orig. proceeding). When standing is challenged for the first
time on appeal, appellate courts "must construe the petition in favor of the party, and if necessary, review the
entire record to determine if any evidence supports standing." Tex. Ass'n of Bus., 852 96*96 S.W.2d at
446. We review de novo a challenge to a party's standing. Tex. DOT v. City of Sunset Valley, 146 S.W.3d
637, 646 (Tex.2004).
The test for constitutional standing in Texas "requires that there `(a) shall be a real controversy between the
parties, which (b) will be actually determined by the judicial declaration sought.'" Tex. Ass'n of Bus., 852 S.W.
2d at 446 (quoting Bd. of Water Eng'rs v. City of San Antonio, 155 Tex. 111, 283 S.W.2d 722, 724 (1955)).
Standing requires the claimant to demonstrate a particularized injury distinct from that suffered by the
general public—there must be an actual grievance, not a hypothetical or generalized grievance. Glover v.
Union Pac. R.R., 187 S.W.3d 201, 209 (Tex.App.-Texarkana 2006, pet. denied); see Brown v. Todd, 53 S.W.
3d 297, 302 (Tex.2001); see also In re H.C.S., 219 S.W.3d 33, 34 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2006, no pet.).
In addition to constitutional limitations on standing, standing can be limited by statutory or common law
authority. See Everett v. TK-Taito, L.L.C., 178 S.W.3d 844, 850 (Tex.App.-Fort Worth 2005, no pet.). Section
102.004 of the Texas Family Code is an example of additional limitations on standing imposed by statute.
Section 102.004 is more restrictive than the constitutional requirement of a justiciable interest. The Section
limits standing to relatives of the child related within the third degree by consanguinity. TEX. FAM. CODE
ANN. § 102.004(a).
HOUSTON STANDING CASE LAW
“Standing consists of some interest peculiar to the person individually and not as a member of the general
public.” Billy B., Inc. v. Bd. of Trs. of Galveston Wharves, 717 S.W.2d 156, 158 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st
Dist.] 1986, no writ) (citing Hunt v. Bass, 664 S.W.2d 323, 324 (Tex. 1984)). More specifically, a person has
standing to sue if: (1) he has sustained, or is immediately in danger of sustaining, some direct injury as a
result of the wrongful act of which he complains; (2) he has a direct relationship between the alleged injury
and claim sought to be adjudicated; (3) he has a personal stake in the controversy; (4) the challenged action
has caused the plaintiff some injury in fact, either economic, recreational, environmental, or otherwise; or (5)
he is an appropriate party to assert the public’s interest in the matter, as well as his own interest. Id. (citing
Hous. Authority v. State ex rel. Velasquez, 539 S.W.2d 911, 913–14 (Tex. Civ. App.—Corpus Christi 1976,
writ ref’d n.r.e.)). Standing is a component of subject matter jurisdiction. Douglas v. Delp, 987 S.W.2d 879,
Harris County Medical Examiner v. Saghian (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Oct. 8, 2009)(Hanks)
(autopsy, free exercise of religion, Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, temporary injunction
preventing autopsy vacated, standing)
REVERSE TRIAL COURT JUDGMENT AND REMAND CASE TO TC FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS:
Opinion by Justice Hanks
Before Justices Jennings, Hanks and Bland
01-07-00951-CV Harris County Medical Examiner Luis Arturo Sanchez, M.D. v. Afsaneh Saghian
Appeal from 133rd District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Lamar McCorkle
We note that the Medical Examiner never raised the issue of Afsaneh Saghian’s standing below.
Nonetheless, standing cannot be waived and may be raised for the first time on appeal by the parties or the
court. West Orange-Cove Consol. Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Alanis, 107 S.W.3d 558, 587 (Tex. 2003). In our review
of standing, we take the factual allegations in the petition as true and construe them in favor of the pleader.
Juarez v. Texas Ass’n of Sporting Officials, El Paso Chapter, 172 S.W.3d 274, 278 (Tex. App.—El Paso
2005, no pet.) (citing Texas Ass’n of Bus. v. Texas Air Control Bd., 852 S.W.2d 440, 446 (Tex. 1993)). In
addition to the pleadings, we may also consider relevant evidence to resolve the jurisdictional issues raised.
Bland Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Blue, 34 S.W.3d 547, 555 (Tex. 2000). We review the entire record to determine
whether any evidence supports standing. Tex. Ass’n of Bus., 852 S.W.2d at 446.
Because standing is a threshold issue that is implicit in the concept of subject-matter jurisdiction, we first
address Father's standing. See Tex. Ass'n of Bus. v. Tex. Air Control Bd., 852 S.W.2d 440, 443 (Tex.
1993). In addressing standing, we review the plaintiff's pleadings to determine whether the petition alleges
facts that affirmatively demonstrate our jurisdiction to hear the case. See id. at 446. We must construe the
petition in the plaintiff's favor and, if necessary, we will review the entire record to determine if any evidence
supports standing. See id.
Seureau v. Exxon Mobil Corp (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Oct. 16, 2008)(Brown)
(governmental immunity, sovereign immunity, summary judgment based on limitations,
no waiver of immunity by conduct or by sue and be sued language under Tooke v. City of Mexia)
Much of the underlying lawsuit relates to the 175 acres of land which belong exclusively to Son, and in which
Father retains no ownership interest. However, Father owned some of the land that was sold to ExxonMobil
in 1966 and, in the underlying lawsuit, he seeks rescission of that earlier conveyance. Appellants have
alleged that the Port now owns some of the land that Father seeks to re-acquire, and have further contended
that the Port, as a participant in a joint enterprise, is legally responsible for ExxonMobil's alleged misdeeds.
Because we construe appellants' petition in their favor, we do not pass on the merits of their joint-enterprise
allegations in this standing discussion. See id.; see also Doncer v. Dickerson, 81 S.W.3d 349, 356 (Tex. App.
- El Paso 2002, no pet.) (“It should always be borne in mind that standing to sue does not mean a right to
win, but merely a right to be heard in court."); In re Smith, 260 S.W.3d 568, 573 (Tex. App.- Houston [14th
Dist.] 2008, orig. proceeding).
We conclude that Father has a justiciable interest in the appeal of the trial court's order granting the Port's
plea to the jurisdiction. See Austin Nursing Ctr., Inc. v. Lovato, 171 S.W.3d 845, 848 (Tex. 2005).
Therefore, we hold that Father has standing and that we have subject-matter jurisdiction to consider his
challenge to the Port's assertion of governmental immunity.
Standing is a necessary component of a court’s subject matter jurisdiction. Tex. Ass’n of
Bus. v. Tex. Air Control Bd., 852 S.W.2d 440, 444–45 (Tex. 1993). To have standing a party must have a
“sufficient relationship with the lawsuit so as to have a ‘justiciable interest’ in its outcome.” Austin Nursing Ctr.
v. Lovato, 171 S.W.3d 845, 848 (Tex. 2005) (quoting 6A Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller, and Mary Kay
Kane, Wright, Miller & Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure: Civil 2d § 1559, 441 (2d ed. 1990)). A plaintiff
must affirmatively show, through pleadings and other evidence pertinent to the jurisdictional inquiry, a distinct
interest in the asserted conflict, such that the defendant’s actions have caused the plaintiff some particular
injury. Hunt v. Bass, 664 S.W.2d 323, 324 (Tex. 1984); see County of Cameron v. Brown, 80 S.W.3d 549,
555 (Tex. 2002). Whether a plaintiff has standing is a legal question we determine de novo. See Mayhew v.
Town of Sunnyvale, 964 S.W.2d 922, 928 (Tex. 1998).
Source: Alpert v. Riley (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Oct. 9, 2008)(Bland)
(probate court, trust management dispute, attorney's fees, standing)
Non-parent's and Grandparents standing in SAPCR
Related terms: grandparent standing for access and custody | lack of standing for want of injury |
"Standing is implicit in the concept of subject matter jurisdiction." Tex. Ass'n of Bus. v. Tex. Air Control Bd.,
852 S.W.2d 440, 443 (Tex. 1993). A party's lack of standing deprives the trial court of subject matter
jurisdiction, and renders any trial court action void. Taub v. Aquila Sw. Pipeline Corp., 93 S.W.3d 451, 455
(Tex. App.- Houston [14th Dist.] 2002, no pet.). Whether a party has standing is a threshold issue, and one
which we review de novo. See In re SSJ-J, 153 S.W.3d 132, 134 (Tex. App.- San Antonio 2004, no pet.);
Hobbs v. Van Stavern, 249 S.W.3d 1, 3 (Tex. App. Houston [1st Dist.] 2006, pet. denied).
Standing based on Statute
When standing has been conferred by statute, the statute itself should serve as the proper framework for a
standing analysis. In re Sullivan, 157 S.W.3d 911, 915 (Tex. App.- Houston [14th Dist.] 2005, orig.
proceeding [mand. denied]). We review the trial court's interpretation of applicable statutes de novo. See
Johnson v. City of Fort Worth, 774 S.W.2d 653, 656 (Tex. 1989). In construing a statute, our objective is to
determine and give effect to the legislative intent. See Nat'l Liab. & Fire Ins. Co. v. Allen, 15 S.W.3d 525, 527
(Tex. 2000). If possible, we must ascertain that intent from the language the Legislature used in the statute
and not look to extraneous matters for an intent the statute does not state. Id. If the meaning of the
statutory language is unambiguous, we adopt the interpretation supported by the plain meaning of the
provision's words. St. Luke's Episcopal Hosp. v. Agbor, 952 S.W.2d 503, 505 (Tex. 1997). We must not
engage in forced or strained construction; instead, we must yield to the plain sense of the words the
Legislature chose. See id.
Source: In re Kevin J. Smith (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] July 3, 2008)(Frost) (mandamus)
(SAPCR, grandparent access mandamus, standing, dispute between grandparents)
Real, Actual, Justiciable Controversy required
Standing is implicit in the concept of subject matter jurisdiction. Tex. Ass'n of Bus., 852 S.W.2d at 443.
Subject matter jurisdiction is essential to the authority of a court to decide a case. Id. In analyzing issues of
standing, we focus on whether a party has a sufficient relationship with the lawsuit to have a "justiciable
interest" in the outcome. Austin Nursing Ctr., Inc. v. Lovato, 171 S.W.3d 845, 848 (Tex. 2005). When a
plaintiff is personally aggrieved, he has standing. Id.
The standing doctrine requires that there be a "real controversy between the parties" which "will be actually
determined by the judicial declaration sought." Id. at 849 (quoting Nootsie, Ltd. v. Williamson County
Appraisal Dist., 925 S.W.2d 659, 662 (Tex. 1996)).
Standing to challenge the constitutionality of a statute requires that the plaintiff have suffered some
actual or threatened injury under the statute that unconstitutionally restricts his own rights. Barshop v.
Medina County Underground Water Conservation Dist., 925 S.W.2d 618, 626 (Tex. 1996). "If a case
becomes moot, the parties lose standing to maintain their claims." Williams v. Lara, 52 S.W.3d 171, 184 (Tex.
2001) (citing City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 105-06, 103 S. Ct. 1660, 1666-67 (1983) (holding
that inmates who had been released from jail lacked cognizable interest in obtaining injunctive or declaratory
relief)). A litigant's request for relief under the Declaratory Judgment Act neither confers jurisdiction on a
court nor changes a suit's underlying nature, nor does it waive sovereign immunity to suits that seek to
establish a basis for obtaining monetary damages. See IT-Davy, 74 S.W.3d at 855, 856; see also Ferrell,
248 S.W.3d at 159 (holding that trial court lacks jurisdiction when legislature has not authorized trial court to
grant relief sought).
In this case, Stephens agrees that the CSC reviewed and upheld his indefinite suspension, resulting in the
termination of his employment with the City, and that the CSC's order was final. The only question, therefore,
is whether the CSC's final order was appealable.
Stephens v. City of Houston (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] June 12, 2008)(Keyes)
(City of Houston litigation, public employment, declaratory judgment suit dismissed for lack of standing,
controversy over termination of employment moot, UDJA, termination of employment was final and not
OTHER CASES INVOLVING STANDING ISSUES
BACM 2002 PBs Westpart Dr LP v. HCAD (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Jul. 21, 2009)(Frost)
(prior owner did not have standing to bring ad valorem tax protests appeal, judicial review suit, assumed
name theory as basis for substitution of correct party rejected, no standing - no subject matter jurisdiction).
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Frost
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Brock Yates and Frost
14-08-00493-CV BACM 2002 PB2 Westpark Dr LP, Houston Parkwest Place Ltd, 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 11th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge: Mark Davidson
Stanford Dev. Corp. v. Stanford Condo Owners Ass'n (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Jan 29, 2009)(Radack)
(arbitration, non-signatory, condo association's standing to sue on behalf of members, bound by arb
agreement) REVERSE TC JUDGMENT AND REMAND CASE TO TC FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS:
Opinion by Chief Justice Sherry Radack
Before Chief Justice Radack, Justices Nuchia and Higley
01-08-00240-CV Stanford Development Corporation v. Stanford Condominium Owners Association
Appeal from 333rd District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Joseph Halbach
City of Galveston, Texas, and BP v. Saint-Paul, No. 01-06-00580-CV (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Feb. 14,
2008)(Alcala) (Open Meetings Act, standing, attorney's fees)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT IN PART, REVERSE TC JUDGMENT IN PART, AND REMAND CASE TO TC FOR
FURTHER PROCEEDINGS: Opinion by Justice Alcala
(Before Chief Justice Radack, Justices Jennings and Alcala)
The City of Galveston, Texas; BP Energy Company, Intervenor; Board of Trustees of the Galveston Wharves
v. Nancy Saint-Paul--Appeal from 122nd District Court of Galveston County (Judge Hon. John Ellisor)
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