Articles Posted in Government Contracts

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This case involved a contract dispute between a local governmental entity that oversaw federal funded rebuilding projects in areas of Texas that were struck by Hurricane Ike and a construction contractor. After a dispute arose between the governmental entity and the contractor regarding the quality of the contractor’s work and payment due under the contracts, the contractor filed suit against the governmental entity for payments allegedly due. The governmental entity filed a plea to the jurisdiction, alleging governmental immunity. The trial court denied the plea, concluding that immunity had been waived by chapter 271 of the Local Government Code, which waives immunity if the contract provides “goods or services to the local governmental entity.” The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that that the chapter 271 immunity waiver applied in this case. View "Byrdson Services, LLC v. South East Texas Regional Planning Commission" on Justia Law

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Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) is a nonprofit corporation providing economic development services to the City and other clients pursuant to quid pro quo contracts. A Houston area resident submitted to GHP a request seeking a copy of GHP’s check register. The resident claimed that GHP is an organization that spends or is supported in whole or in part by public funds, and therefore, GHP is subject to the Texas Public Information Act (TPIA) in the same manner as a governmental body. GHP did not disclose the requested information, claiming that it did not qualify as a “governmental body” under the TPIA because the public funds it received were compensation for services provided to the City of Houston pursuant to a contract. The Attorney General concluded that GHP was subject to the TPIA’s disclosure requirements. The trial court agreed, and the court of appeals affirmed the trial court. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that GHP is not a “governmental body” under the TPIA because it is not wholly or partially sustained by public funds. View "Greater Houston P’ship v. Paxton" on Justia Law

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LTTS Charter School ("LTTS") was an open-enrollment school that retained C2 Construction, Inc. ("C2") to build school facilities at a site Universal Academy had leased. C2 filed a breach of contract suit and Universal Academy filed a plea to the jurisdiction claiming immunity from suit. The trial court denied the plea and Universal Academy brought an interlocutory appeal under Section 51.014(a)(8) of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code. In the court of appeals, C2 moved to dismiss the interlocutory appeal, arguing that Universal Academy was note entitled to one because it was not a governmental unit under the Torts Claims Act ("Act"), Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 101.001(3)(D). At issue was whether an open-enrollment charter school was a governmental unit as defined by Section 101.001(3)(D) and thus, able to take an interlocutory appeal from a trial court's denial of its plea to the jurisdiction. The court held that open-enrollment charter schools were governmental units for the Act purposes because the Act defined government unit broadly to include any other institution, agency, or organ of government derived from state law; the Education Code defined open-enrollment charters schools as part of the public school system, which were created in accordance with the laws of the state, subject to state laws and rules governing public schools and, together with governmental traditional public schools, have the primary responsibility for implementing the state's system of public education; and the Legislature considered open-enrollment charter schools to be governmental entities under a host of other laws outside the Education Code. Accordingly, because Universal Academy was a governmental unit under the Act, the court of appeals had jurisdiction to hear its interlocutory appeal under Section 51.014(a)(8). View "LTTS Charter School, Inc. v. C2 Construction, Inc." on Justia Law