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Date: 02-03-2022

Case Style:

Patsy Jones v. Texas Department of Public Safey

Case Number: 03-20-00615-CV

Judge: J. Woodfin Jones

Court: Texas Court of Appeals, Third District, on appeal from the 126th District Court, Travis County

Plaintiff's Attorney:

Best Austin Civil Rights Lawyer Directory

Defendant's Attorney: Not Available.

Description: Austin, Texas civil rights lawyer represented Plaintiff, who sued Defendant claiming religious discrimination at work.

DPS Trooper Patsy Jones sued the Texas Department of Public Safety for violations of the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA) based on religious discrimination, disability discrimination (including failure to accommodate), race discrimination, and retaliation.[1] The DPS filed a combined plea to the jurisdiction and motion for summary judgment, asserting that the court lacked jurisdiction because Jones had not shown a waiver of
sovereign immunity. The trial court granted the DPS's plea and motion and dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. Jones perfected this appeal from the dismissal of her claims of disability discrimination (including failure to accommodate) and retaliation.

Jones v. Tex. Dep't of Pub. Safety (Tex. App. 2022)

The trial court granted the DPS's combined plea to the jurisdiction and motion for summary judgment and dismissed Jones's claim for lack of jurisdiction. The Texas Supreme Court has set forth the proper procedure and standards for analyzing such claims:

The TCHRA waives immunity, but only when the plaintiff states a claim for conduct that actually violates the statute. To prevail on a claim of immunity, the governmental defendant may challenge[ ] whether the plaintiff has alleged facts that affirmatively demonstrate the court's jurisdiction to hear the case, the existence of those very jurisdictional facts, or both. Where the defendant challenges the existence of jurisdictional facts, as [the defendant] did here in its motion to dismiss, the court must move beyond the pleadings and consider evidence. The analysis then mirrors that of a traditional summary judgment.

[The plaintiff] thus had the burden to raise at least a genuine issue of material fact on each element of his claims. To determine whether he met that burden, we must take as true all evidence favorable to [him], indulging every reasonable inference and resolving any doubts in [his] favor.

The express purposes of the TCHRA include provid[ing] for the execution of the policies of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.) and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.). Accordingly, we have consistently held that those analogous federal statutes and the cases interpreting them guide our reading of the TCHRA.

Texas Dep't of Transp. v. Lara, 625 S.W.3d 46, 52 (Tex. 2021) (footnotes and internal quotation marks omitted).
Jones v. Tex. Dep't of Pub. Safety (Tex. App. 2022)


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