Negligence Suit for Not Placing Speed Limit Sign Near a School In Texas

In Garza v. State, 878 S.W.2d 671 (Tex. App.--Corpus Christi 1994, no writ) (en banc), the Court considered the Garzas' appeal of the summary judgment. After reviewing the Garzas' claims that TxDOT was negligent in failing to place road signs in the school zone area, the court determined that the sign placement in this case was discretionary and that summary judgment was proper. Garza, 878 S.W.2d at 675; see TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE ANN. 101.056 (Vernon 1997). The court then looked at whether the State negligently failed to correct the absence, condition, or malfunction of traffic or road signs in the vicinity of the school within a reasonable time after receiving notice. See TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE ANN. 101.060 (a)(2) (Vernon 1997). The Garzas argued that the existing signs in the area did not set a reasonable speed limit, and that TxDOT should have remedied the problem by placing signs near the school with a lower speed limit. Garza, 878 S.W.2d at 675. The court concluded that this claim fell within the purview of section 101.060 (a)(2) concerning signs already in place. Id. Since the Garzas did not allege the absence or malfunction of the signs, the issue was based on the condition of the signs. Id. Following a discussion of "condition," the court determined that at this stage of the lawsuit, where only the pleadings were filed, the court find that it is premature to dismiss this particular claim. On the face of the pleadings, the Garzas have sufficiently stated a cause of action under 101.060 (a)(2). the State, which has the burden of proof, failed to adequately demonstrate that 101.060 (a)(2) is inapplicable as a matter of law. Id.