Allright, Inc. v. Guy

In Allright, Inc. v. Guy, 590 S.W.2d 734, 735 (Tex. Civ. App.-Houston 14th Dist. 1979, writ ref'd n.r.e.), Talmage M. Guy's automobile was stolen from an Allright, Inc. parking lot; he thereafter filed suit under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act in the county court at law, which at the time had a maximum jurisdictional limit of $5000, exclusive of interest. See id. (citing Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 1970a (Vernon Supp. 1978-79)). Although Guy alleged that his actual damages were $1807.51, the then-applicable version of the DTPA made an award of treble damages to a prevailing consumer mandatory. Id. Consequently, Guy actually sought $5422.53. Id. Allright filed a plea to the jurisdiction; but the trial court overruled Allright's plea and rendered judgment in Guy's favor for an amount in excess of $5000, exclusive of interest. Id. On appeal, Allright argued "that the county court at law had no jurisdiction to hear the case because Guy's's original petition asserted an amount of actual damages, $1,807.51, which when tripled exceeds the $5,000.00 maximum statutory jurisdiction of the court." Id. The Fourteenth Court of Appeals agreed and therefore reversed the trial court's judgment and dismissed the cause. Id.