Texas Department of Criminal Justice v. Rangel (Opinion)Annotate this Case
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals holding that none of the Texas Tort Claims Act's exceptions to a waiver of immunity applied in this case, holding that the riot exception applied and that the Tort Claims Act did not waive the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's immunity for Plaintiff's claims against it.
In this case, a Department prison guard filed a skat shell at a group of prison inmates, injuring Plaintiff. Department officials had authorized and instructed the guard to use the tear-gas gun and shell in response to two groups of inmates who had refused to comply with orders from several prison officials for almost an hour. The Department filed a plea to the jurisdiction, asserting that its sovereign immunity had not been waived for Plaintiff's claims. In response, Plaintiff asserted that a fact question existed as to whether the Act's emergency and riot exceptions applied to bar his claims. The trial court denied the Department's plea to the jurisdiction, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Act's riot exception applied as a matter of law and foreclosed waiver of the Department's immunity.