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by John Husted

Fulsom v. Mexia ISD, 2010 Tex. App. LEXIS 7757 (Tex. App. – Waco, September 22, 2010)

The Texas Tort Claims Act does not waive a school district’s immunity from abuse of process,
which is an intentional tort.

Galveston ISD v. Clear Lake Rehabilitation Hospital, L.L.C., 2010 Tex. App. LEXIS 7708
(Tex. App. – Houston [14th Dist.] September 21, 2010.

A school district does not waive governmental immunity by providing health insurance to school district employees, because doing so is not a proprietary function.

After being admitted to the Hospital, a Galveston ISD (“GISD”) employee was informed by GISD that his medical coverage was cancelled for failure to pay his premiums. When the Hospital did not receive payment for the employee’s medical treatment, it demanded payment from GISD, and filed suit when the District rejected its demand. GISD filed a plea to the jurisdiction asserting governmental immunity, which the trial court denied.

The 14th District Court reversed the trial court, concluding that providing health insurance to employees is a governmental function of a school district. Since the Texas Education Code requires school districts to offer medical coverage to all employees, it performs functions mandated by the state when it does so. That the District had a choice regarding how it provided such coverage does not mean its exercise of that choice was a non-governmental function. The court notes that providing group healthcare furthers the state’s educational goals because school districts are able to attract more-qualified employees.