Thursday, March 4, 2010
Property Tax Protester Must Have Standing to Bring Judicial Review Suit Contesting Appraisal of Real Estate
A Houston court of appeals reiterated in two cases decided today that a property tax protest - and subsequent judicial review suit - challenging the Appraisal District's valuation of real property cannot be brought by a person or entity that did not own the property at the relevant point in time (and was not an agent or lessee of the owner), and that Rule 28 cannot be used to substitute the true owner once litigation is under way.
The issue of who has the right to pursue administrative remedies, and - subsequently file suit against the appraiser/appraisal district for judicial review - is one of standing, and thus jurisdictional. The appellate panel of the 1st Court of Appeals affirms dismissal of both suits by the Harris County district courts in per curiam opinions, citing to an earlier case involving the same legal issues, in which the Fourteenth Court of Appeals (which also sits in Houston), issued a signed opinion. [click case name to read opinion]
Scott Plaza Associates Ltd v. HCAD
(Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] March 4, 2010)(per curiam) (HCAD property tax appeal, plaintiff did not own property and did not have standing to bring judicial review suit of property tax appraisal, substitution under rule 28 not available, order granting plea to the jurisdiction affirmed)
Steward did not own the property as of January 1, 2007. Steward did not claim rights to protest under the Property Tax Code as either a lessee or an agent. Therefore, Steward lacked standing to pursue judicial review as a “party who appeals” under section 42.21(a). The record does not reflect that Scott Plaza pursued its right of protest as the actual property owner. According to the record, Scott Plaza was not named as a party until May 22, 2009 when Steward filed a first amended original petition. Therefore, the Review Board had not determined a protest by the actual property owner, Scott Plaza, upon which Scott Plaza could premise a right to appeal as the property owner.
AFFIRMED: Per Curiam
Before Justices Brock Yates, Anderson and Seymore
14-09-00707-CV Scott Plaza Associates LTD, commonly known as J & Friedman S. Steward v.
Harris County Appraisal District
Appeal from 55th District Court of Harris County
Woodway Drive LLC v. HCAD
(Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] March 4, 2010)(per curiam)
(owner must file property tax protext judicial review suit; dismissal for want of jurisdiction affirmed;no substitution of new owner under Rule 28)
AFFIRMED: Per Curiam
Before Justices Brock Yates, Seymore and Brown
14-09-00524-CV Woodway Drive LLC aka First Reliance Metering LP v.
Harris County Appraisal District Appeal from 189th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge: William R. Burke JR.
PRIOR CASE ADDRESSING STANDING FOR TAX PROTEST PURPOSES AND ATTEMPTED SUBSTITUTION UNDER TRCP 28 (with signed opinion by Justice Frost):
BACM 2002 PBs Westpart Dr LP v. HCAD (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Jul. 21, 2009)(Frost)
(prior owner did not have standing to bring ad valorem tax protests appeal, judicial review suit, assumed name theory as basis for substitution of correct party rejected, no standing - no subject matter jurisdiction).
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Frost
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Brock Yates and Frost
14-08-00493-CV BACM 2002 PB2 Westpark Dr LP, Houston Parkwest Place Ltd, as the Property Owners and the Property Owners v. Harris County Appraisal District and the Appraisal Review Board of Harris
County Appraisal District Appeal from 11th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge: Mark Davidson
RELATED TERMS: property tax appraisal appeals, tax protests, challenging valuation of real property, judicial review suit, exhaustion of administrative remedies, standing to invoke legal remedies, prosecute law suit TRCP 28, Tex. R. Civ. P. 28, substitution of parties, common name, assumed name, doing business as (dba)