Wasson Interests, Ltd. v. City of Jacksonville (Opinion)Annotate this Case
In the 1990s, the Wassons assumed an existing ninety-nine-year lease of property owned by the City of Jacksonville that specified that the property was to be used for residential purposes only. In 2009, the Wassons conveyed their interest in the lease to Wasson Interests, Ltd (WIL), which violated the lease terms. The city sent WIL an eviction notice, but the City and WIL subsequently entered into a reinstatement agreement that required WIL to cease and desist all commercial activity in violation of the lease. Later, the City sent WIL yet another eviction notice, contending that WIL’s use of the property violated the reinstatement agreement. WIL sued for breach of contract. The City filed a combined motion for traditional and no-evidence summary judgment on several grounds, including governmental immunity. The trial court granted the motion. The court of appeals affirmed based on governmental immunity. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the common-law distinction between proprietary and governmental acts applies to contract claims; and (2) the court of appeals erred in holding that in a breach of contract action, a City has immunity for proprietary acts. Remanded for a determination as to whether the lease contract was entered into in the City’s proprietary or governmental capacity.