This website will be unavailable from Thursday, May 30, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. through Monday, June 3, 2024 at 7:00 a.m. due to data center maintenance.

  By: Wentworth  S.C.R. No. 42
         (In the Senate - Filed March 13, 2007; March 27, 2007, read
  first time and referred to Committee on Jurisprudence;
  April 12, 2007, reported favorably by the following vote:  Yeas 5,
  Nays 0; April 12, 2007, sent to printer.)
         WHEREAS, Maria Isabel Guerrero-McDonald and
  Guerrero-McDonald & Associates, Incorporated, allege that:
         (1)  on March 22, 1994, subsequent to the submittal and
  acceptance of a bid, Pelzel & Associates entered into a contractual
  agreement with Travis County for the construction of the Travis
  County Precinct One Office Building in Austin, Texas;
         (2)  the terms for the construction of the building specified
  that the work should be substantially completed within 150 calendar
  days, on December 8, 1994, and that in the event of late completion
  Travis County would sustain and retain liquidated damages in the
  amount of $250 for each calendar day beyond the contractually
  required date for substantial completion of the project;
         (3)  the final completion date for the construction of the
  building was December 29, 1994, 21 days beyond the contractually
  required date for substantial completion;
         (4)  Travis County retained liquidated damages in the amount
  of $5,500, and Pelzel & Associates was required to prove at a
  significant expense that the actions of Travis County caused the
  delayed completion date;
         (5)  Pelzel & Associates presented its claim to the Travis
  County Commissioners Court, at which time Travis County admitted
  that no liquidated damages were justified and that Travis County
  was at fault for delays that had indeed damaged Pelzel & Associates,
  the cost of which, together with the cost of proving these facts,
  totals over $100,000;
         (6)  Travis County offered to relinquish its claim for
  liquidated damages only, but threatened to claim sovereign immunity
  if Pelzel & Associates demanded additional damages;
         (7)  a final offer to resolve the matter was made by the
  Pelzel & Associates attorney on April 25, 1995, for approximately
  one-third of the total damages, but Travis County did not respond to
  this offer;
         (8)  on October 3, 1995, Pelzel & Associates brought suit
  against Travis County in the District Court of Travis County for
  payment due, for the cost of proving its case, and for interest to
  date, and Travis County denied all allegations, seeking summary
  judgment regarding sovereign immunity from suit and the dismissal
  of Pelzel & Associates' cause, premised on lack of jurisdiction and
  based on immunity from suit rather than on the merits of the case;
         (9)  in June 1999, Pelzel & Associates changed its name to
  Guerrero-McDonald & Associates, Incorporated;
         (10)  on November 22, 1999, the trial court signed an order
  denying the plea to the jurisdiction and amended motion for summary
         (11)  on December 16, 1999, Travis County filed a notice of
  appeal with the Third Court of Appeals for an interlocutory appeal
  of the trial court's decision;
         (12)  during the appeals process, the parties engaged in
  mediation on June 1, 2000; however, no decision was reached, and the
  parties agreed to a continuance allowing Guerrero-McDonald &
  Associates, Incorporated, time to provide additional
         (13)  on October 19, 2000, the Third Court of Appeals
  affirmed the order of the trial court, and subsequently denied a
  motion for rehearing requested by Travis County on November 30,
         (14)  Travis County filed a petition for review with the
  Supreme Court of Texas, which was granted, briefs were filed, and
  oral arguments were held on November 28, 2001;
         (15)  on April 30, 2002, pending the decision of the Supreme
  Court of Texas, both parties filed a joint motion to retain case on
  docket and objection to alternative dispute resolution with the
  intent that, should the supreme court render in favor of Travis
  County, the case would be abated until legislative consent was
         (16)  on May 9, 2002, the Supreme Court of Texas rendered its
  opinion, finding in favor of Travis County and reversing the Third
  Court of Appeals' decision, its findings being made more on the
  merits of Travis County's case than on their allegation of
  sovereign immunity, in spite of the dissenting opinion of Justice
  Enoch that the court continues to "keep the courthouse doors
  locked" by allowing the county to "interpose sovereign immunity
  from suit"; now, therefore, be it
         RESOLVED by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That Maria
  Isabel Guerrero-McDonald and Guerrero-McDonald & Associates,
  Incorporated, are granted permission to sue Travis County in the
  manner described for a suit against the state under Chapter 107,
  Civil Practice and Remedies Code; and, be it further
         RESOLVED, That the suit authorized by this resolution shall
  be brought in Travis County; and, be it further
         RESOLVED, That the total of all damages awarded in the suit
  authorized by this resolution, including any court costs, and any
  prejudgment interest awarded under law, may not exceed $3 million
  plus the amount of any attorney's fees authorized to be awarded
  under law, and that Maria Isabel Guerrero-McDonald and
  Guerrero-McDonald & Associates, Incorporated, may not plead an
  amount in excess of that amount that may be recovered with respect
  to the contract that is the subject of this resolution in all
  actions brought with respect to that contract; and, be it further
         RESOLVED, That the county judge of Travis County be served
  * * * * *