TX Courtroom of Appeals Finds Alleged Violations of the Texas Public Data Act have been Adequate to Survive Abstract Judgment

This put up was authored by Matthew Loescher, Esq.

Groba owned property throughout the Metropolis of Gelena Park and utilized for a allow to construct a quadruplex on that property. The Metropolis rejected his software, and Groba was suggested {that a} new Metropolis ordinance prevented him from constructing a multi-family unit on his property. Groba’s attorneys filed an “open information request” with the Metropolis in search of “manufacturing of all ordinances related to the situation, placement, and normal existence of duplexes throughout the Metropolis of Galena Park.” In October 2019, Groba’s attorneys despatched a letter to the Texas Lawyer Normal complaining concerning the Metropolis’s failure to adjust to the information request and requesting the legal professional normal’s help, nut obtained no response. Groba in the end sued the Metropolis and a number of other people of their official capacities. The decide later granted Metropolis’s movement and dismissed all of Groba’s claims with prejudice. Groba well timed appealed. The attraction was assigned to the Houston First Courtroom of Appeals, and the Texas Supreme Courtroom transferred it to this court docket.

The Metropolis raised one summary-judgment floor in opposition to Groba’s declare for mandamus aid from the denial of his constructing allow software: Groba had no proof that his allow software complied with all related legal guidelines and constructing codes, as would have been crucial for approval. The court docket discovered Groba’s affidavit, standing alone, was too conclusive to assemble competent abstract judgment proof on the query of whether or not his allow software complied with all relevant legal guidelines and constructing codes. Accordingly, the court docket held that the trial decide didn’t err by granting abstract judgment on Groba’s declare difficult the Metropolis’s denial of his building-permit software.

The Metropolis raised one summary-judgment floor in opposition to Groba’s declare for mandamus aid referring to alleged violations of the Texas Public Data Act (“TPIA”). Beneath the TPIA, Groba was entitled to a writ of mandamus compelling the Metropolis to make data obtainable for public inspection if the Metropolis refused to request an legal professional normal’s determination no later than the tenth enterprise day after receiving Groba’s written request. As a result of the court docket discovered that Groba raised a real challenge of fabric truth as as to if the Metropolis violated the TPIA, it sustained this appellate challenge partly and reversed the abstract judgment with respect to Groba’s declare for mandamus aid below the TPIA.

Groba v Metropolis of Gelena Park, 2022 WL 16549068 (TX App. 10/31/2022)