State News : Texas

NWCDN is a network of law firms dedicated to protecting employers in workers’ compensation claims.

NWCDN Members regularly post articles and summary judgements in workers’ compensations law in your state.  

Select a state from the dropdown menu below to scroll through the state specific archives for updates and opinions on various workers’ compensation laws in your state.

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Pro se workers’ compensation claimant Alvy Childress filed suit for judicial review of a Division decision denying his claim for benefits. Childress named as defendants his employer, the carrier, and the Division. The Division filed a plea to the jurisdiction which the trial court granted, and Childress appealed. The Third Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s order granting the Division’s plea to the jurisdiction.  Childress complained on appeal about the hearing he received at the Division including the fact that it was held by telephone due to the pandemic and that he was allegedly prevented from presenting evidence or reviewing or verifying evidence presented at the hearing. 

The court of appeals’ decision doesn’t announce any new law but does affirm some long-held principles.  First, pro se litigants are held to the same standards as represented parties, even at the appellate level.  “We construe appellant’s brief liberally, attempting to discern and comprehend his appellate issues as best we can, but we must hold him to the same standards as appellants represented by counsel.”  As courts have explained before, if this were not the case, unrepresented parties would have an unfair advantage. Second, the Division is not a proper party to a suit for judicial review. The court cites numerous cases for the proposition that the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act does not waive the state’s sovereign immunity and provide a claimant with the right to sue the Division in a judicial review action.

Childress v. Travelers Indemn. Co., et al., No. 03-21-00579-CV, 2022 WL 2542005 (Tex. App.—Austin July 8, 2022, no pet.) (mem. op.).

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