Scheduled for February 22, 2024, the Texas Supreme Court will convene to hear arguments in the case of Texas Disposal Systems Landfill, Inc. This case addresses a crucial intersection of property rights and legal procedures, examining the jurisdiction of trial courts in determining market value appeals initiated by chief appraisers against property owners.

The central issue revolves around the jurisdiction of trial courts in cases where the chief appraiser files an appeal against the property owner based on an unequal appraisal protest, with the market value appeal left unaddressed. The Appraisal Review Board (ARB) did not consider any evidence pertaining to the market value during the protest hearing and did not decide on this aspect. Following the hearing, the ARB concluded that the property was unequally appraised and issued an order reducing its value.

The subsequent legal proceedings unfolded when the Travis Central Appraisal District, represented by the chief appraiser, pursued the matter in the trial court. Their objective was to nullify the ARB’s order and establish the property’s appraised value, insisting it be set “at no less than its market value.” The trial court, however, dismissed the market value claim, citing a lack of jurisdiction due to the ARB’s exclusive focus on the unequal appraisal claim.

The Austin Court of Appeals intervened, overturning the trial court’s decision and affirming jurisdiction over the market value claim. The question before the Texas Supreme Court is whether Section 42.02 of the Texas Property Tax Code confines a trial court’s jurisdiction strictly to the grounds raised in the taxpayer’s protest and determined by the ARB or if the chief appraiser can introduce new grounds in district court.

This case extends beyond its legal intricacies, carrying implications for the broader jurisprudence of the state. A potential reversal by the Texas Supreme Court would have notable consequences for property owners statewide. The decision could establish a precedent with lasting implications for property rights and legal proceedings in Texas.

As the Texas Supreme Court prepares for the upcoming hearing on Texas Disposal Systems Landfill, stakeholders closely monitor the proceedings, including property owners and legal experts. The case’s outcome may reshape the delicate balance between property rights and the authority of appraisal districts, contributing to the evolving legal landscape in the Lone Star State.