Coryell County v. Harrell – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Coryell County v. Harrell, 379 S.W.3d 345 (Tex. App.--Waco 2011, no pet.), Coryell County argued that, "because continuous maintenance is the only type of claim for which the Legislature specified the burden of proof, then necessarily it is the only type of claim that can be contested by the contest provision." Id.

The court disagreed, concluding that continuous maintenance is merely "a particular type of claim to a road" by a county, and that section 258.004(b) "simply clarified that for this one type of claim, when contested under section 258.004(a), . . . the burden of proof is on the county." Id. at 351.

"For all other claims to a public interest in a road under section 258.002, case authority, the ordinary rules of pleading, procedure and proof, and the nature of the interest that is being asserted provide the manner in which these contests will be decided. Thus, to the extent that the County's claim is a public right by dedication, the plaintiffs must defeat that claim by establishing, for example, a title superior to the claim of express dedication or a defective dedication. But to the extent the County claims as an alternative basis for the public interest in the road that it was continuously maintained by the County, the burden will be on the County." Id.