Taxi Preferences at DFW Airport and Collateral Estoppel

The DFW Airport Board sought to incentivize taxicabs powered by natural gas by giving them “head of the line” privileges at DFW.  In 2009, the Airport Board passed a resolution to that effect, and the Association of Taxicab Operators (the “Association”) brought suit, seeking a declaration that the resolution was void.  The trial court ultimately sided with the Association and declared the resolution as passed void.  The Airport Board did not appeal that ruling.

Instead, in 2012, the Airport Board passed a second, similar resolution, which gave “head of the line” privileges to “taxicab operators who invest in a CNG operated taxicab.”   Once again, the Association challenged the resolution, and again the trial court declared the resolution void.  This time, the Airport Board appealed.  The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s ruling, holding that the Airport Board has the exclusive power to operate DFW Airport, which includes the power to manage the flow of ground transportation.  The Court also rejected the Association’s argument that the trial court’s ruling on the first resolution was binding in this case under the doctrine of collateral estoppel.  Because the court’s ruling on the first resolution only applied to that resolution as passed, it did not determine whether the second resolution was valid.

DFW Airport Bd. v. Ass’n of Taxicap Ops., No. 05-12-00777-CV

Inverse Condemnation Action Is No Bar To Recovery for Breach of Contract

This breach of contract case arises out of an inverse condemnation action filed by Continental Foods against the state of Texas.  In that action, Continental alleged that the state had acquired property for a highway expansion and did not compensate it for its loss of value under its lease with Rossmore Enterprises.  The Court of Appeals ruled that the lease’s language stated that the lease terminated upon condemnation, leaving Continental with no compensable interest to protect.  Continental then sued Rossmore arguing that its landlord had breached the lease in two ways: (1) by not requiring the state to proceed with the condemnation in a Special Commissioner’s hearing so Continental could receive compensation and (2) by not tendering to Continental its share of the condemnation proceeds.  Rossmore moved for summary judgment on the ground that the doctrine of collateral estoppel barred Continental’s claim because its right to condemnation had already been decided.  The Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that “[n]othing in our prior opinion determined the parties’ obligation under the Master Lease before condemnation.”  Accordingly, Continental’s claim was not barred by collateral estoppel.

Continental Foods v. Rossmore Enterprises