Suing or defending governmental units presents special substantive and procedural issues, many of which are frequently tested in appellate courts. Haynes and Boone's appellate lawyers have substantial experience navigating the provision of The Federal and Texas Tort Claims Acts, which provide a limited waiver of immunity in tort cases involving governmental units and allowing tort claimants to sue only in certain circumstances. Our appellate team often partners with trial counsel in litigating claims involving governmental units and their employees. Our experience, which benefits clients at trial and on appeal, extends to the following representative issues:
- Challenging or defending an entity's status as a governmental unit under the Texas Tort Claims Act and other statutes, including constitutional challenges to certain healthcare entities' new statutory designation as governmental units;
- Drafting and arguing motions to dismiss and pleas to the jurisdiction on behalf of governmental units and their employees;
- Litigating whether a governmental unit's immunity has been waived by statutorily-defined conduct, such as the "use of tangible personal property;"
- Analyzing whether and to what extent damages for particular tort claims may be limited or precluded if immunity has been waived;
- Assisting trial counsel and clients with analysis and application of the Texas Tort Claims Act's complex statutory provisions such as notice, election of remedies, and interlocutory appeal;
- Determining whether and when interlocutory appeal is available to the governmental unit or its employees and whether the underlying action will be stayed pending appeal;
- Assessing the presence of potential conflicts of interest and other ethical issues between co-defendants where immunity defenses are involved; and
- Defending against constitutional challenges to a governmental unit’s immunity and other provisions of the Texas Tort Claims Act.