Ayala v. Corpus Christi

In Ayala v. Corpus Christi, 507 S.W.2d 324 (Tex.Civ.App.--Corpus Christi 1974, no writ), the court was called upon to determine whether the establishment of an ambulance by the City of Corpus Christi was "any other public utility service or enterprise" requiring approval by a majority vote. Id. at 326. The specific wording of the Corpus Christi city charter provision was that a special election was required to approve the purchase, construction or operation of ". . . a system or systems of water works, gas or electric lighting plants, telephones, streetcars and sewers, or any other public utility service or enterprise." Id. The court applied the rule of ejusdem generis to hold that the phrase "other public utility service or enterprise" was not to be construed in its broadest sense but was "to apply to things of the same kind or class as specifically mentioned. (I.e., water works, gas, electric, telephone, etc.)." Id. at 327. Because the institution of a public ambulance service was incident to the police power of the city and did not require "a capital investment such as would a water works system, electric or gas utility," the court concluded that an ambulance service purchased and operated by the City of Corpus Christi was not, as such, a public utility. Id. at 328.