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Appeal: False imprisonment claim against CenterPoint to continue, man arrested for trying to stop tree trimming
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HOUSTON – A man claiming CenterPoint falsely imprisoned him for refusing to let the company trim an oak tree on his property recently had his claim reinstated by the 14th Court of Appeals.

The opinion stems from a lawsuit Noris Rogers brought against CenterPoint. Noris also brought suit against the city of Houston and Davey Tree Surgery.

Rogers sued the defendants for false imprisonment and intrusion and seclusion after CenterPoint and Davey Tree, accompanied by a HPD officer, came to his property to trim a tree under a powerline and had him arrested. 

Court records show that Davey Tree had previously left a door hanger at Rogers’ home, which is outside HPD’s jurisdiction, informing him of the impending tree trimming. Employees came to his home twice in October 2017, but Rogers refused to let them trim the tree.

On Nov. 7, 2017, a CenterPoint representative and Davey Tree crew, along with the HPD officer, showed up at his home.

Court records show Rogers had given CenterPoint permission to trim the tree on the condition that we would have input as to how the tree would be cut.

In their motions for summary judgment, Davey Tree and CenterPoint each argued that they did not detain Rogers or cause him to be detained and that Rogers was lawfully arrested because he was breaching the peace, threatening people, and had assaulted a Davey Tree employee.   

After being arrested, Rogers was released and no charges were filed against him, court records show.

A trial court granted Davey Tree and CenterPoint’s motions and a plea to the jurisdiction favoring the city.

Justices also found that the trial court properly dismissed all of Rogers’ claims against the city.

“The trial court erred, however, in granting summary judgment favoring CenterPoint on Rogers’ false imprisonment claim,” the opinion states. “Consequently, we reverse and remand the false imprisonment claim against CenterPoint for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion and affirm the remainder of the judgment.”

Norris is representing himself.

CenterPoint is represented by Erin Lunceford and Travis Leverett, attorneys for the Houston law firm of Norton Rose Fullbright.

Appeals case No. 14-19-00196-CV

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