Cervantes v. Tyson Foods, Inc

In Cervantes v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 130 S.W.3d 152 (Tex. App.--El Paso 2003, pet. denied), claimant Cervantes lost his contested case hearing and attempted to appeal. The Texas Workers' Compensation Commission's (TWCC) appeals panel dismissed his appeal as untimely, and Cervantes timely sought judicial review of that dismissal, arguing that TWCC staff negligence had caused his TWCC appeal to be late. Id. at 154. The district court dismissed on Tyson's plea to the jurisdiction, but the court of appeals reversed, holding that Cervantes had sufficiently exhausted his administrative remedies simply by obtaining a final decision from the appeals panel. Id. at 157-58 & n.2. The Cervantes court held that the trial court's determination of the timeliness of Cervantes's TWCC appeal constituted a premature decision of the merits of Cervantes's claim. Id. at 157-58.