October 11, 2019

BREAKING NEWS: Texas Supreme Court GRANTED the petition for review filed by the cities of Conroe, Magnolia, Splendora, and others in a suit originally brought by SJRA in Travis County

Quadvest WQater and Sewer Utility THE WOODLANDS, Texas - On Friday, October 4, 2019, the Texas Supreme Court granted the petition for review filed by the cities of Conroe, Magnolia, Splendora, and others in a suit originally brought by SJRA in Travis County. SJRA’s Travis County lawsuit was directed specifically against the City of Conroe for refusal to pay one of the many rate increases unilaterally imposed by SJRA since conceiving its surface water scheme. Instead of suing Conroe in Montgomery County, as provided for in the contract, SJRA chose to file suit in faraway Austin, and use a little known statute called the Expedited Declaratory Judgment Act as its excuse to be out of Montgomery County, which is the home county. In this particular case, the cities, joined by Quadvest and Woodland Oaks, challenged SJRA’s use of the EDJA. A trial judge and the Austin Court of Appeals sided with SJRA. The cities & Quadvest did not give up easily and continued their suit by appealing to the Texas Supreme Court.

Simon Sequeira, Quadvest CEO points out that the Supreme Court does not have to take all cases that are brought to them and only grants petitions for review in about 10% of all cases filed. “The odds are stacked against anyone who asks the Supreme Court to review an erroneous decision,” he said. The Supreme Court does not grant petitions for review in most cases because they do not involve issues that will impact the state, but when the Supreme Court grants a petition for review, the case has about an 85% probability of being reversed.

Conroe and its allies received great news when the court granted review of their case. “This moves our odds of success from 10% to over 85%,” Sequeira pointed out, “and it means that the court has found something in the briefs that merits further study.” The Supreme Court’s announcement is bad news for SJRA, which had argued that it should be allowed to keep the lawsuit involving Montgomery County water rates in Travis County.

“Regardless of which way the Supreme Court rules,” Sequeira noted, “at the end of the day we get to force SJRA to defend its rates, whether it gets to hide in Travis County or has to face a Montgomery County jury.

Quadvest Water and Sewer Utility has been a Montgomery County staple for nearly 40 years. Founded by Gary Sequeira and his father-in-law, Odell Vaught, the company is an independently owned utility providing service to more than 50 communities. Of his five children and 12 grandchildren, three children currently work at Quadvest continuing the heritage of family-owned commitment and pride. His son, Simon Sequeira is the current president of Quadvest.

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