Remember that case we posted on a few months ago, where the Texas Supreme Court was asked to review the issue of whether trial courts have jurisdiction to supervise eminent domain cases which are in the "administrative" phase and not yet in the "judicial" phase (City of Dallas v. Highway 205 Farms, Ltd., No. 05-13-00951)?
Last week, the court aked the parties to file briefs on the merits. Our understanding is that this is not a grant of full-blown discretionary review under Texas appellate procedure, but rather an intermediate step to give the court more argument as it considers granting full review. But at least this is a step in the right direction.
The trial court in the Highway 205 Farms case dismissed the condemnor's complaint for lack of prosecution because the valuation commissioners took an extraordinarily long time to schedule a hearing (one and a half years) in the administrative phase. The court of appeals, however, concluded that Texas trial courts have no jurisdiction to supervise eminent domain cases on their dockets that are in the administrative phase, even though the filing of the administrative case allowed a lis pendens to be filed to cloud the owner's title.
More background on the case here.