2006 Annual Survey of Texas Class Action Cases

Texas Business Litigation Journal

The number of cases addressing class action issues in Texas continued to drop this year. In 2006, Texas appellate courts decided only nine cases that substantively addressed Tex. R. Civ. P. 42,2 down from 13 cases decided in 2005 and 23 in 2004. In three cases, the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals approved class certification. The remaining six cases rejected certification. However, many of the opinions forged relatively new ground in exploring Rule 42(b)(3)’s predominance and superiority requirements. Despite the relatively small number of class action decisions, Texas courts continued to refine Rule 42’s application and scope in 2006.

A. Texas Supreme Court Opinions

In 2006, the Texas Supreme Court published only one opinion discussing class issues. In Cameron Appraisal Dist. v. Rourk,3 the court determined whether a class action can be used to circumvent a statutory requirement that taxpayers exhaust administrative remedies before filing a civil action.

A group of taxpayers filed suit against the Cameron Appraisal District for assessing ad valorem taxes against owners of travel trailers in the 2000 and 2001 tax years. The trial court denied certification but the court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals, holding that the taxpayers were required to exhaust administrative remedies before filing a class action.

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