law-official immunity vs. sovereign immunity | individual capacity personal liability | official capacity Ex Parte Young
exception to immunity
DISSENT FROM DENIAL OF PETITION FOR REVIEW
Watson v. Watkins, No. 09-0166 (Tex. Nov. 20, 2009)(Willet)(opinion dissenting from denial of review)
(would accept case presenting question whether peace officers are entitled to official immunity for acts performed
while serving as private security guards will off-duty).
SHANE WATSON v. SHIRLEY NEWMAN AND JILL WATKINS; from Potter County;
7th district (07 08 00203 CV, ___ SW3d ___, 11 21 08)
Justice Willett, joined by Justice Hecht, delivered an opinion dissenting from the denial.
OFFICIAL IMMUNITY DEFENSE OF GOVERNMENTAL OFFICIAL SUED
INDIVIDUALLY TO IMPOSE PERSONAL LIABILTY
Official immunity, by contrast, is an affirmative defense protecting public officials from
individual liability. See Telthorster v. Tennell, 92 S.W.3d 457, 459-60 (Tex. 2002). Because we
hold that Heinrich has not sued the Board members in their individual capacities, official
immunity is inapplicable here.
State officials may, of course, be sued in both their official and individual capacities. Judgments against state
officials in their individual capacities will not bind the state. See Alden v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706, 757 (1999) (“Even a
suit for money damages may be prosecuted against a state officer in his individual capacity for unconstitutional or
wrongful conduct fairly attributable to the officer himself, so long as the relief is sought not from the state treasury
but from the officer personally.”).
City of El Paso v. Heinrich, No. 06-0778 (Tex. May 1, 2009)(Jefferson)
(governmental immunity)(retrospective monetary relief barred; prospective relief against official capacity defendant
not barred by immunity, no individual-capacity claims, ergo official immunity inapplicable)
CHARLES BARNES, ET AL. v. CITY OF ARLINGTON, TEXAS; from Tarrant County; 2nd district (02‑07‑00249‑CV,
___ SW3d ___, 03‑27‑08) as redrafted (TTCA, immunity, emergency vehicles)
Appellant City of Arlington, Texas, brings this interlocutory appeal from the trial court’s judgment denying its plea to
the jurisdiction and motions for summary judgment. In its sole issue, appellant argues that appellees failed to
establish a waiver of governmental immunity. We reverse and render. Background Facts Officer Dace Warren of
the Arlington Police Department was driving northbound on Fielder Road in an emergency situation with the
lights and sirens activated in his police car as he approached the intersection of Fielder Road and Randol Mill
Road. Appellee Charles Barnes, who was driving southbound on Fielder Road and was stopped at the red light
at the intersection of Fielder Road and Randol Mill Road, saw Officer Warren’s lights and heard the sirens.
Appellee Ryan Matthew Robinson was driving westbound on Randol Mill Road when he came to the intersection of
Randol Mill Road and Fielder Road. Robinson did not hear Officer Warren’s siren or see his lights but continued
through the intersection at the same speed, which was about forty miles per hour, as the light turned from green to
R. SCOTT PHELAN v. H. SCOTT NORVILLE, PAMELA EIBECK, AND ELIZABETH HALL; from Lubbock County; 7th
district (07-07-00035-CV, ___ S.W.3d ___, 01-23-08, pet. denied May 2008)
(official immunity, defamation, libel, slander)