Charles P. Curry and Jennifer Curry v. Harris County Appraisal District, No. 14-12-00898-CV (Fourteenth Court of Appeals—Houston)
(June 5, 2014)

The property owners protested the value of their property, and the Harris County Appraisal Review Board reduced the value based on the property owners’ agent’s sworn testimony at the ARB hearing and a hearing affidavit. The property owners timely appealed the ARB order, and the district court granted the Harris County Appraisal District’s motion for summary judgment. “In reviewing the summary judgment in favor of the appraisal district, we consider whether the doctrine of judicial estoppel precluded the property owners from asserting on appeal in the district court that the appraised value of the property should be less than the value to which the property owners’ agent testified before the appraisal review board. We conclude that the district court had jurisdiction over the appeal, and that the property owners exhausted their administrative remedies and have standing to appeal. Because the summary-judgment evidence does not establish as a matter of law the appraisal district’s entitlement to summary judgment based on the sole ground asserted, judicial estoppel, we reverse the trial court’s judgment and remand.” The court of appeals stated that a trial de novo is permitted in the Tax Code and “any statement in the Hearing Affidavit or at the Formal Hearing cannot be a basis for application of the judicial-estoppel doctrine in the district court.”