The Dallas Court of Appeals recently held (again) that the improper denial of a motion for leave to designate a responsible third party under Chapter 33 of the Civil Practice & Remedies Codes is subject to review by mandamus. The case arose from a collision between a crane truck and a bus. Plaintiff was a passenger on the bus and sued the defendants, but not the company that owned and operated the crane truck. Consequently, the defendants filed a motion for leave to designate the crane company as a responsible third party. The trial court denied the defendants’ motion, but allowed the parties the opportunity to replead. After repleading, the parties again filed a motion for leave to designate a responsible third party, which the trial court again denied.
In holding that the trial court erred by failing to grant defendants’ motion, the Court stated that the trial court must take the allegations against the third party as true. The Court also noted that the proper method to attack the designation on the merits is by a motion to strike the designation or by motion for summary judgment. Next, the Court held that mandamus was available by citing its holding in In re Oncor Elec. Delivery Co. that "an improper denial of leave to designate a responsible third party may not be adequately addressed by appeal." Accordingly, the Court conditionally granted the writ of mandamus. The Court’s opinion in In re Greyhound Lines, Inc. can be found at this link.