Estate Administration


Survival Actions

County of Dallas v. Sempe, 151 S.W.3d 291 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2004), pet. dism'd w.o.j., 262 S.W.3d 315 (Tex. 2008).


Prisoner was killed by a fellow inmate during a jailhouse fight. Children brought a survival action alleging that Prisoner’s death was the result of the jail being overcrowded. County claimed that Children lacked standing to bring the survival action. The appellate court explained that because Children waited until more than four years from the date of Prisoner’s death to sue, they were not required to allege that there was no administration pending and that none was necessary. In addition, they were not required to file suit within the four-year period for instituting probate proceedings. The statute of limitations on Prisoner’s claim had not run when he died and was tolled during Children’s minority.

Moral: Survival actions may be heard many years after the decedent’s death if the heirs are minors because the statute of limitations is tolled.