Morgan, et al. v. Plano Indep. Sch. Dist., No. 12-40493 (5th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs sued the school district over an alleged violation of First Amendment rights because plaintiffs' third-grade son was prevented from distributing a "candy cane ink pen" with a laminated card containing a religious message. The court concluded that it had jurisdiction because it was well-established under Texas law that the district's governmental immunity was not a mere defense to suit but rather was complete immunity from suit. And because governmental immunity from suit defeated a trial court's jurisdiction, whether a trial court had jurisdiction was a question of law subject to de novo review. Section 110.06 of the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act (TRFRA), Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 110.001-110.012, required pre-suit notice in the form of certified mail, return receipt requested. The court concluded that the district's governmental immunity was not waived because it was undisputed that plaintiffs' demand letter did not comply with the jurisdictional pre-suit notice requirements.