Court Derails DART’s Attempt to Dismiss Lawsuit Based on Sovereign Immunity

In 2000, the union representing DART’s employees sued DART, alleging that it was improperly denying its employees’ grievances and requests for appeals.  As a result, the parties entered into a settlement agreement providing that DART was required to modify the employee grievance procedures in its employment manual.

Years later, in 2010, a dispute arose between DART and a former employee (who had been terminated) over DART’s grievance procedures.  The union ultimately sued DART, alleging that it had breached the prior settlement agreement.  DART filed a plea to the jurisdiction, asserting sovereign immunity, which the trial court denied.  On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision, noting that when “a governmental entity agrees to settle a lawsuit in which it has waived governmental immunity, it cannot claim immunity from suit for breach of the settlement agreement.”  Because DART had waived immunity in the 2000 lawsuit and the union was claiming it had breached that agreement, DART could not claim immunity from the suit.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit v. Amalgamated Transit Union Local No. 1338

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