New Cases and Developments

NACUA's Legal Resources staff summarizes current higher education cases and developments and provides the full text of selected cases to members. New cases and developments are archived here for up to 12 months.  Cases provided by Fastcase, Inc.

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Real Property, Facilities & Construction

Texas Southern University v. Mouton (Tex. App. Jan. 11, 2018)

Opinion reversing the trial court’s order and dismissing Appellee’s claims. Appellee is a representative of Brent Randall, a college freshman who was killed on Texas Southern University (TSU)’s campus from a gunshot wound outside his dorm. Appellee brought claims of negligence and gross negligence against TSU for its purported failure to warn of the risks of harm on campus, failure to provide adequate security, and failure to make the campus safe after criminal activities. The sole question upon appeal was whether TSU’s governmental immunity was waived under the Texas Tort Claims Act, which establishes liability where a personal injury or death is caused by a “condition or use of tangible personal or real property.” The court found that the use or conditions of TSU’s property did not proximately cause Randall’s death and therefore, under the Act, Appellant had not waived its governmental immunity. Specifically, the court found that the gunshot wounds from a nonstudent that caused Randall’s death were unrelated to inadequate security, failure to warn, or failure to make safe any premise defects. 

Construction Projects & Contracts; Real Property, Facilities & Construction

Pizza Hut of America, L.L.C. v. Houston Community College System (Tex. App. Dec. 19, 2017)

Memorandum Opinion affirming the trial court’s finding that Plaintiff lacked standing. Plaintiff, Pizza Hut of America, L.L.C., alleges that as a tenant of Woodridge Plaza—a property acquired by Defendant Houston Community College System (HCCS) through a petition for condemnation for educational purposes—Plaintiff had standing in the condemnation proceeding and was entitled to a portion of the condemnation award. To establish standing in a condemnation proceeding and therefore to receive a condemnation award, a Plaintiff must show that they have a viable interest in the outcome of HCCS’s taking under its lease terms. Here, the court found that Plaintiff did not show that it had a viable interest in Defendant’s taking because Plaintiff did not suffer harm as a result of the condemnation, specifically because the condemnation did not impair Plaintiff’s physical access or use of the property, and Plaintiff did not incur any improvement costs or relocation expenses as a result of the condemnation.