J. Patrick Sutton Cases & Issues Blog

5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reverses federal district court, allowing challenges to New Braunfels' STR ban to proceed to trial

On June 16, 2023, my clients' right to challenge the City of New Braunfels' ban on short-term rentals were vindicated by the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

My clients sued in federal district court to overturn New Braunfels' ban on short-term rentals. The federal district court summarily dismissed the case, concluding that my clients could not even state a valid legal claim. My clients were not even allowed to conduct any discovery into whether the City's rationale for banning short-term rentals had any factual basis.

The 5th Circuit, in New Orleans, reversed at lightning speed on June 16 after oral argument on June 7! And while the opinion is very short, it is momentous. For one thing, it is a
published decision, meaning it constitutes legal precedent. For another, it establishes that homeowners (and other litigants) have a right to force the government to demonstrate that it has some rational basis for its laws. Had my clients lost in the 5th Circuit, it would become nearly impossible for anyone to challenge city ordinances which trample on property rights.

For now, the City of New Braunfels apparently intends to ask the 5th Circuit to reconsider its decision. If it declines, then the case goes back to the trial court for discovery into the City's basis for its ordinance and then final trial.

On the same day as the 5th Circuit reversed and allowed the case to go to trial, my clients in Grapevine
similarly won the right to go to final trial when the Texas Supreme Court upheld their win on appeal.
J. Patrick Sutton Cases & Issues Blog