Houston, Texas (March 30, 2023) – The Supreme Court of Texas recently upheld a Thirteenth Court of Appeals’ judgment finding that the plaintiffs in a premises defect case brought against the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) had failed to raise a fact issue regarding the creation of a dangerous condition and, consequently, failed to establish waiver of the defendant’s sovereign immunity. Daniel K. Christ and Nicole D. Salinas v. Tex. DOT, et al., No. 21-0728, 66 Tex. Sup. Ct. J. 306, 2023 Tex. LEXIS 128, at *1 (Feb 10, 2023).
Plaintiffs Daniel Christ and his wife, Nicole Salinas (the Christs), were riding their motorcycle through a construction zone when they collided with a vehicle that crossed into their lane. TxDOT’s traffic control plan for the related construction project called for the placement of concrete barriers between opposing travel lanes; however, once construction on the project began, TxDOT’s contractor determined there was not enough space for the concrete barriers and revised the traffic control plan to substitute yellow stripes and buttons for the concrete barriers. TxDOT never approved the revised traffic control plan in writing; however, TxDOT’s contractor contended TxDOT orally approved of the change. The Christs sued the driver of the other vehicle, TxDOT, and TxDOT’s contractor.