Duvall v. Texas Department of Human Services – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Duvall v. Texas Department of Human Services, 82 S.W.3d 474 (Tex. App.--Austin 2002, no pet.), the plaintiff TDHS employee reported inaccuracies in statistical methods used by a division of TDHS to compile "response time reports." Id. at 476.

In his original petition, the plaintiff identified the criminal offense of tampering with a governmental record as the law that he believed TDHS had violated. Id. at 477 (citing TEX. PENAL CODE ANN. § 37.10 (Vernon Supp. 2009)).

In determining whether the plaintiff had made a report to an appropriate law enforcement authority under the Whistleblower Act, the court noted that the plaintiff had only presented evidence that the plaintiff's supervisor "had the authority to take remedial action with regard to the alleged inaccuracies in the response time reports." Id. at 481-82.

The court concluded that because the Whistleblower Act did not refer to the authority to take "remedial action," but instead the authority to regulate under or enforce the law alleged to have been violated or to investigate or prosecute a violation of the criminal law, the plaintiff's evidence that he believed that his supervisor had the authority to take "remedial action" did not satisfy the objective or subjective components of good faith in section 554.002(b). Id. at 482.