Texas Supreme Court Holds That an Electric Company Can Condemn Public Property Over Governmental Immunity Objection

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The Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion on Friday, June 22,2012, in Oncor Electric Delivery Company, LLC v. Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Fort Worth Transportation Authority (Cause No. 11-0079)— holding that a recent change to the Texas Utilities Code waived governmental immunity from condemnation suits instituted by electric corporations seeking to acquire land along a route certified by the Public Utilities Commission ("PUC").

The case followed a traditional path in reaching the Texas Supreme Court. Oncor Electric Delivery Company, LLC ("Oncor") applied to the PUC for approval of a transmission line, and, following the lengthy certification process before the PUC, was granted a route that crossed over a public commuter rail line jointly owned by the Dallas Area Rapid Transit authority and Fort Worth Transportation Authority (collectively, "DART"). Oncor and DART attempted to negotiate an aerial easement and right-of-way over approximately 0.37 acres of the commuter rail line.

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