Duvall v. Tex. Dep’t of Human Servs – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Duvall v. Tex. Dep't of Human Servs., 82 S.W.3d 474 (Tex. App.--Austin 2002, no pet.), the plaintiff was a systems analyst in the MIS division of the Texas Department of Human Services.

One of Duvall's duties was to compile data for response-time reports that tracked how long it took the Department to respond to requests for information. Id.

Duvall believed that one of the Department's divisions was using inaccurate statistical methods to compile its response times, and he reported this belief to his supervisor at a meeting about his own job performance. Id.

He was fired a few months later, and he sued under the Whistleblower Act. Id. The trial court granted summary judgment for the Department, and the court of appeals affirmed for two reasons.

First, it held that Duvall adduced no evidence that he made his report to an appropriate law enforcement authority. Id. at 478-82.

Second, it held that Duvall adduced no evidence "other than his training and experience that his belief that the response-time reports violated the law was objectively reasonable." Id. at 483.

The court also noted that, absent other evidence, "Duvall's recitation of his experience is not sufficient to meet the objective prong of Hart." Id.

The Court of appeals concluded that Duvall introduced no evidence to show "how his training and experience led him to believe that a violation of law occurred." Id. at 482.