Justice O’Neill Honored

Yesterday, the Texas Supreme Court announced that Justice O’Neill has received a national award for her work against child abuse and neglect.

A Glimpse Into Local Government Litigation

I like to report here when litigants claim, sometimes before trial begins, “we’re taking this issue all the way to the Texas Supreme Court.” Some of those cases make it; many do not.

But this story is a little different. Here, the litigant is a local government (the Aransas County Navigation District) and the opposing party is what the article describes as “a prominent and respected local family.”

The Rockport Point Pilot News of Aransas County describes the dispute:

Under the terms of this document, the Navigation District agreed to use public finds to construct Fulton Harbor, to the benefit of the family’s business. In exchange, the Johnson family would deed certain waterfront property to the Navigation District in exchange for a 99-year no-cost lease. The harbor and breakwater were built, but the land was not deeded over. The Johnson’s position is that the document in question does not constitute a valid contract and cannot be enforced. The district’s position is that it is a valid contract and should be enforced. The lower courts have rendered opposite opinions on this question.

Two members of the board moved to kill the lawsuit, letting the family win. After some public agonizing (for a taste, one board member’s statement was reprinted in the paper), the board decided 3-2 to let the lawsuit proceed and a petition for review be filed.