An Ace in the Hole & A Jack of All Trades: Recent Developments Affecting Sovereign Immunity & Pleas to the Jurisdiction
Boyd, Jeffrey S.
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The article summarizes recent developments in Texas law that affect the substantive doctrine of sovereign immunity and the procedural practice surrounding pleas to the jurisdiction and how both have strengthened the government’s position in litigation. It summarizes recent decisions, particularly those of the Texas Supreme Court, and pending issues that alter the way that government lawyers must approach these issues in their practice. These recent decisions almost unanimously find no waiver of sovereign immunity, and thus confirm that except in very limited circumstances, sovereign immunity remains an “ace in the hole” for governmental units. At the end of the article there are two charts for: “Does ‘Sue and be Sued’ or ‘Plead and Be Impleaded’ Waive Sovereign Immunity?, and What Type of Plea to the Jurisdiction Should I file?.