Texas Propane Gas Ass'n v. City of Houston (Corrected)Annotate this Case
The Supreme Court held that the Texas Propane Gas Association (TPGA) demonstrated standing to bring its suit against the City of Houston for a declaratory judgment that the City's ordinances regulating the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) industry to include imposing criminal fines for violations were preempted by state law.
The City brought two jurisdictional challenges to TPGA's suit: (1) the City argued that civil courts lacked subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate TPGA's preemption claim because the local regulations it challenged carried criminal penalties; and (2) the City argued that TPGA could only challenge the City's LPG regulations that have injured at least one of its members. The trial court refused to dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction. The court of appeals remanded the case to the trial court for TPGA to amend its pleadings, agreeing that TPGA could not challenge the City's regulations en masse. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) TPGA's claim was not a criminal law matter that must be raised in defense to prosecution; and (2) the City's argument, while framed as a challenge to TPGA's standing, was in fact a merits challenge, and TPGA demonstrated standing to bring the preemption claim it pleaded.