County of Cameron v. Brown – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In County of Cameron v. Brown, 80 S.W.3d 549, 555, 45 Tex. Sup. Ct. J. 680 (Tex. 2002), the Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's ruling that the defendants' plea to the jurisdiction should have been sustained because the plaintiffs failed to plead that they did not have actual knowledge of the dangerous condition at issue. 80 S.W.3d at 558-59.

The Court observed that the plaintiffs' pleadings did not "affirmatively negate the existence of an unreasonably dangerous condition." Id. at 559.

The Court concluded:

Because the trial court did not rule on the defendants' special exceptions and allow the plaintiffs an opportunity to amend their pleadings, omitting this element cannot support the trial court's judgment. See Herring, 513 S.W.2d 6 at 9-10, 17 Tex. Sup. Ct. J. 403 (holding that when the allegations do not "affirmatively negate" a claim, dismissal for failure to state a claim is appropriate only when the plaintiff has been "given an opportunity to amend after special exceptions have been sustained"); see also 7 WILLIAM V. DORSANEO III, TEXAS LITIGATION GUIDE § 70.034f (stating that after a trial court sustains special exceptions, "the pleader must be given, as a matter of right, an opportunity to amend"). Id.