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Driscoll v. Harris County Comm’rs Court – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Driscoll v. Harris County Comm'rs Court, 688 S.W.2d 569, 577 (Tex. App.--Houston 14th Dist. 1984, writ ref'd), the Harris County Attorney brought suit against the Harris County Commissioners Court in his official capacity as County Attorney challenging the authority of the County toll roll authority to employ private counsel. Id. at 571.

The trial court concluded that the County Attorney had standing to seek declaratory relief concerning his duties as County Attorney, but found that the County Attorney:

(1) did not have any authority to seek injunctive or declaratory relief regarding the expenditure of County funds;

(2) lacked the requisite justiciable interest to attack either the formation of the Harris County Toll Road Authority or the appointment of the operating board. Id. at 582.

Relying on case law stating that the County Attorney does not have the authority to institute a proceeding for or on behalf of the County unless given the power by statute or by order of the Commissioners Court, the Driscoll court held:

"His authority the County Attorney's being so restricted, it appears to follow, therefore, that the county attorney in his official capacity would not have the authority by injunction or declaratory judgment to seek relief against the expenditure of county funds, as was attempted here. For the same reason, in his official capacity, we hold that he lacked the requisite justiciable interest to attack the formation of the Authority or the appointment of the members of the board." Id. at 582-83.