Appraisal Review Bd. of Harris County Appraisal Dist. v. O'Connor & Assocs

In Appraisal Review Bd. of Harris County Appraisal Dist. v. O'Connor & Assocs., 267 S.W.3d 413 (Tex. App.-Houston 14th Dist. 2008, no pet.), the property owners filed suit in district court alleging various taxing entities were violating procedures outlined in the Property Tax Code for conducting property tax appraisal protest hearings. O'Connor, 267 S.W.3d at 415. They sought mandamus, injunctive, and declaratory relief. Id. The taxing entities filed a plea to the jurisdiction, and the trial court ultimately denied the plea in relation to two of the entities, who then appealed. Id. at 416. The property owners argued, inter alia, that (1) "even though they did not complete the administrative process, the district court still had subject matter jurisdiction to hear their claims because . . . section 41.45(f) of the Tax Code allows the district court to compel the Board to hold a hearing"; and (2) "because the Board was failing to conduct hearings in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Tax Code, section 41.45(f) gave the district court jurisdiction over their claims." Id. at 417. The Court responded: "Adopting the Taxpayers' interpretation of section 41.45(f) would allow property owners to circumvent the appeal provisions in chapter 42 and sue in district court simply by alleging the Board failed to adhere to procedural guidelines. Interpreting section 41.45(f) as creating another avenue of appeal to the district court would essentially render the appeal provisions in chapter 42 meaningless." Id. at 418.