Sitting for the court: Justice Paul W. Green, Justice Nathan L. Hecht, Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson, Justice Phil Johnson, Justice David Medina, Justice Dale Wainwright, Justice Don R. Willett, Justice Harriet O'Neill
(Justice Guzman not sitting)
State of Texas v. Charles Lynn Brownlow and Marlene H. Brownlow
from Brazoria County and the 14th District Court of Appeals, Houston
For petitioner: Lisa Marie McClain, Austin
For respondents: Bud Arnot, Houston
The issue is whether the Department of Transportation’s permanent easement for a water-detention pond adjacent to a widened highway allows the state to excavate soil from the easement for highway work miles away. Claiming inverse condemnation, the Brownlows sued the state for unconstitutionally taking their property, arguing they owned the dirt. Their permanent easement resulted from an earlier challenge to the state’s effort to take a fee-simple interest in their land. The trial court dismissed the Brownlows’ suit on the state’s jurisdictional plea. The court of appeals reversed, holding the state did not have sovereign immunity because the easement did not transfer the soil’s ownership from the Brownlows to the state.
The first argument begins at 9 a.m. in the courtroom in Austin. Each side will have 20 minutes for argument.
This advisory serves only as an abbreviated guide to oral argument. Summaries are prepared by the Court’s staff attorney for public information and reflect his judgment alone on facts and legal issues and in no way represent the Court’s opinion about case merits.
Texas Supreme Court advisory
Contact: Osler McCarthy,
Staff Attorney for Public Information
(512) 463.1441 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org