Artco-Bell Corp. v. City of Temple

In Artco-Bell Corp. v. City of Temple, 616 S.W.2d 190 (Tex. 1981), the plaintiff's notice of claim complied with the requirements for notice set forth in the city's charter in every respect except that it was not verified. The supreme court stated that the notice provision was "in aid of the management and control of the City's finances and property," and the purpose of the verification requirement was "to afford the City protection against spurious and unfounded claims." Id. at 192. The supreme court considered the limitations on the city's powers and concluded that the Legislature limited the city's authority to require a notice of claim that was reasonable. Id. at 193. The court also considered how the provision had been applied and noted that the city did not bring the verification requirement to the litigant's attention, but delayed until after the time expired for giving notice and then rejected the claim. See id. There was also evidence that a city attorney would ignore an unverified notice and investigate a verified notice. The supreme court concluded that the verification requirement was unreasonable because, rather than further the purpose of the notice of claim, it "placed an obstacle in the path of citizens pursuing a legitimate redress for wrongs committed by public entities." Id. Therefore, the requirement was invalid.