Archives: Special Appearance

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Personal jurisdiction found over corporate parent without veil-piercing

Ordinarily, when evaluating the contacts of distinct legal entities, the contacts of parent corporations and subsidiaries are evaluated separately for jurisdictional purposes, unless the corporate veil is pierced.  On first glance, that doesn’t appear to be what happened in Cornerstone Healthcare Group Holding, Inc. v. Nautic Management VI, L.P.  The key to understanding this opinion … Continue Reading

Mandamus standard over dominant jurisdiction is relaxed

Once upon a time a trial court’s decision on a question of dominant jurisdiction was not subject to mandamus relief unless one court was actively interfering with another court’s exercise of jurisdiction.  The Texas Supreme Court has abrogated that standard in favor of the more flexible standard the court adopted in In re Prudential Insurance … Continue Reading

When is Mandamus Relief Available for Conflicting Trial Settings?

The Texas Supreme Court’s holding in In re Prudential Insurance Co. of America, 148 S.W.3d 124, 135-36 (Tex. 2004) (orig. proceeding)—that determining whether an appellate remedy is “adequate” requires a balancing of the benefits and detriments of mandamus review and is not an abstract or formulaic determination—seems to have caused a split among the Courts … Continue Reading

Trial court’s reach exceeds its grasp

The Dallas Court of Appeals recently held that a trial court lacks jurisdiction to issue a show-cause order for a non-party to appear if the party is outside the subpoena power of the court. Here, after one unsuccessful mediation, the parties attempted another mediation during trial with the trial court’s blessing. The trial court determined … Continue Reading

Mandamus subject to laches

The Dallas Court of Appeals recently reaffirmed that mandamus is controlled by equitable principles, including laches. Here, the relator waited almost nine months to file its petition without explanation. The Court relied on cases finding waiver in which the petitioner waited four to six months before filing for no apparent reason. Accordingly the Court found … Continue Reading

Discretion to issue “superdupersedeas” against the State

The Supreme Court of Texas has recognized the discretion of a trial court judge to deny the State of Texas automatic supersedeas in cases involving non-monetary judgments pursuant to Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 24.2(a)(3). In In re State Board for Educator Certification, a schoolteacher challenged the State Board for Educator Certification’s revocation of his … Continue Reading

Mandamus Developments at the Dallas Court of Appeals

As most appellate lawyers around Dallas know, the Fifth Court of Appeals has a reputation (well-earned) for disposing of petitions for mandamus in, let’s say, a summary fashion. Specifically, the mandamus denials, with few exceptions, have consisted of three-sentences memorandum opinions, two of which were reserved for the standard introduction ("The facts are well known … Continue Reading

Mandamus Fundamentals

In the heat of the rush to get a mandamus filed with the court of appeals, it’s easy to overlook basic mandamus requirements.  That appears to be what happened in In re Moffitt, a mandamus proceeding filed in the Amarillo Court of Appeals. Mr. Moffitt sought a mandamus to compel the Hutchinson County District Judge and … Continue Reading

Dominant Jurisdiction and Mandamus Relief

Since 1985, the test for whether a writ of mandamus will issue in connection with a trial court’s refusal to grant a plea in abatement under the doctrine of dominant jurisdiction has required proof of an active interference by one court with the jurisdiction of another court.  The loosening of mandamus standards does not appear … Continue Reading

No Mandamus against a JP

The Amarillo Court of Appeals dismissed a Petition for Writ of Mandamus against a justice of the peace because a court of appeals does not have jurisdiction to issue a writ of mandamus against a justice of the peace. In In re Smith, the relators sought a writ of mandamus against a justice of the … Continue Reading

Mandamus–don’t forget the order

Texas Appellate Rule 52.3(k)(1)(A) requires that an appendix to a Petition for Writ of Mandamus must contain a certified or sworn copy of any order complained of, or any other document showing the matter complained of.  Appellate courts are very strict in enforcing this requirement.  So much so that even when the Respondent trial judge does … Continue Reading

Preserving error to complain of death penalty sanctions

In a mandamus setting, it can sometimes be a challenge to ensure that you’ve brought forward all the documents and hearing transcripts required to establish an abuse of discretion.  The Houston Fourteenth District Court of Appeals has suggested the record in a death penalty sanctions case may need to be fairly comprehensive.  In In re … Continue Reading

Follow Thy Mandate, Redux

I recently wrote another blog entry about what happens when the parties or the trial court fail to follow the appellate court mandate.  Now, here’s another: In a prior appeal, the Fort Worth Court of Appeals held that the Plaintiff’s expert report was adequate as to one of two claims and inadequate as to the second claim.  The … Continue Reading

Election mandamus is turned away

Each election season is sure to bring a slew of new mandamus opinions as decisions of our election officials are challenged.  That’s what happened in In re Cercone.  Albert Cercone, who is the Republican Party nominee for Dallas County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3, Place 1, filed a petition for writ of mandamus to challenge … Continue Reading

Discovery of Federal Tax Returns Limited

The Tyler Court of Appeals recently confirmed that individual federal tax returns are discoverable to the extent they are relevant and material.  In this case, the tax returns were relevant to the claims and the court found that the parties had agreed to the production of the returns.  But that was not the end of the matter.  … Continue Reading

Restrictions on the Use of Special Masters

Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 171 allows a court to appoint a master in chancery "in exceptional cases, for good cause."  In its In re Behringer Harvard Tic Management Services LP opinion, the Dallas Court of Appeals reminded us of what the Texas Supreme Court said about "exceptional cases" almost 20 years ago.  A court’s busy schedule … Continue Reading

Discovery of Trade Secrets – Mandamus Granted in Dallas COA

Few writs of mandamus are granted in Dallas, so when I see one in the daily case updates I like to check the opinion out.  I was glad I did so today!  The Dallas Court of Appeals issued an informative opinion today conditionally granting a writ of mandamus to vacate an order that compelled the production … Continue Reading

Personal Jurisdiction Notes

Personal Jurisdiction challenges is one area of the law that I’ve found interesting since I took Dean Frank Newton’s conflicts of law class in law school.  Recently there have been a number of personal jurisdiction opinions that have come out.   I’ve summarized what I see as the highlights of some of those cases below: In Jackson … Continue Reading

Waiver of Special Appearances in Default Challenges

The San Antonio Court of Appeals has held that a party challenging a default judgment may well risk losing the opportunity to challenge the exercise of personal jurisdiction over him unless special precautions are taken. In Boyd v. Kobierowski, Kobierowski, a Texas resident, sued Boyd, a California resident, in Texas for breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation … Continue Reading

Disqualification Requires Notice and Evidentiary Hearing

The Corpus Christi Court of Appeals recently held that a respondent is entitled to notice and an evidentiary hearing before having its counsel disqualified.  First, the court determined it had jurisdiction to issue a writ of mandamus against a presiding judge of a administrative judicial district because the judge was acting in the capacity of … Continue Reading