On June 13, 2019, the Texas 13th District Court of Appeals upheld a trial court’s decision to deny the City of Gonzales’ plea to the jurisdiction in the J.B. Wells lawsuit. The suit in question, filed by the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, essentially argues the city has not followed the conditions laid out in J.B. Wells’ will and deed relating to his land. The Wells estate conditionally deeded his land to the city to be used as a public park, which is now known as J.B. Wells Park. If the city did not follow the conditions listed in the will and deed, the land would essentially be turned over to the seminary group.
The city filed a plea to the jurisdiction, which sought to have the case moved out of probate court and redefined as a civil matter, but that plea was denied by a trial court on March 5. The city subsequently appealed that decision on March 25.
Nearly three months later, the 13th Court of Appeals, presided over by Chief Justice Dori Contreras and Justices Nora Longoria and Gregory T. Perkes, affirmed the trial court’s denial. With the appeal denied, the case remains a probate matter and eventually will be heard as such. As of press time, a trial date has not been set.