Tag Archives: jurisdiction

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

Jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act

The Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) gives federal courts jurisdiction of class actions where the matter in controversy exceeds $5 million.  The U.S. Supreme Court considered the question of whether a named class representative can avoid application of CAFA by stipulating that he will not seek damages that exceed $5 million in Standard Fire Ins. … 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

Texas District Courts Lack Jurisdiction to Grant Divorces to Same-Sex Couples

The Dallas Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s order denying a plea to the jurisdiction that had been filed by the Texas attorney general, who had intervened in the proceeding for the purpose of contesting jurisdiction.  The court of appeals held that Texas district courts lack jurisdiction to grant divorces to same-sex couples legally married in … Continue Reading

Judicial versus clerical error

The Dallas Court of Appeals recently discussed the difference between judicial errors and clerical errors and highlighted why it’s so very important to pay attention to the language in orders and judgments. In In the Interest of N.E., D.E., & M.E., the trial court rendered a final judgment with a Mother Hubbard clause.  The same … Continue Reading

Targeting Mandamus

The Amarillo Court of Appeals recently issue an opinion in In re Lagaite, in which the Court dismissed the petition for writ of mandamus for want of jurisdiction.  The petitioner complained of medical treatment he received while incarcerated in a Texas prison and evidently named the medical doctor as the respondent.  Noting that Texas Government … Continue Reading

Surety Bonds vs. Cash Deposits

The Houston (First) Court of Appeals recently issued an interesting opinion regarding perfection of an appeal from a small claims court to a county court at law.  The appellant failed to timely file an appeal bond within ten days of the judgment pursuant to to TRCP 571.  Instead, the appellant "deposited $5,000 in cash . . … Continue Reading

Late Notice of the Judgment

When a party (or the party’s attorney) does not receive actual notice of an adverse judgment within 90 days of that judgment, the party may make use of Texas Civil Procedure Rule 306a to extend deadlines for filing a motion for new trial or to appeal.  But its important that the party invoking Rule 306a … Continue Reading

District Court Jurisdiction: Split of Authority

The Beaumont Court of Appeals has held that the minimum amount in controversy necessary to invoke a district court’s jurisdiction is $201.00. In Acreman v. Sharp, the trial court dismissed Plaintiff Acreman’s claims against an employee of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice because Acreman’s petition asserted that the value of the property he was complaining … 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

In case you’re ever in a car accident with someone insured by a foreign insurance company…

Assume a foreign insurance company provides auto insurance cards that specifically cover accidents both in the home country and the United States.  If a car accident occurs in Texas, can the insurer avoid personal jurisdiction in the suit by alleging that it did not purposefully avail itself to Texas? This was the issue before the Dallas Court of Appeals … Continue Reading

Subject-matter Jurisdiction and Consent

After reading Combs v. Kaufman County, I can’t help but wonder if there is something missing from the Court’s opinion or if the opinion contains an error.  Nontheless, I was surprised to learn about a rarely-invoked provision of the Texas Constitution that allows parties to a suit to pick their own judge. Article V, Section … Continue Reading

Court Doesn’t Monkey Around With Exclusive Jurisdiction

A court appointing a receiver has exclusive jurisdiction over property subject to the receivership. When does the court’s exclusive jurisdiction end? The court must either relinquish its jurisdiction or order the receiver to restore the property to those entitled to it. Proper relinquishment of exclusive jurisdiction was the main issue of a recent San Antonio … Continue Reading

Whistleblower Act and scope of waiver of immunity

The Houston Fourteenth District Court of Appeals highlighted a split of authority in the courts of appeals regarding waiver of immunity in the Texas Whistleblower Act.  In Galveston ISD v. Jaco, the Court considered the question of whether immunity from liability is coextensive with immunity from suit under the Whistleblower Act.  The Court observed that … Continue Reading

Abatement vs Dismissal: Split of Authority?

In an interesting opinion regarding dominant/servient jurisdiction and abatement, the Houston (First) Court of Appeals made this observation regarding the proper relief on a motion to abate: Generally, the proper relief on a motion to abate on the ground of dominant jurisdiction is abatement.   . . . However, there is also authority that that if a party … Continue Reading

Pro Se Letter Waived Special Appearance

The Dallas Court of Appeals held that a pro se letter from an Illinois resident denying liability and requesting an extension of time to retain counsel and file a "complete answer" waived the defendant’s subsequent special appearance.  The defendant argued that the letter did not consitute an answer.  The court held that  the letter constituted an answer.  … Continue Reading

Society of Engineers Lacks Standing to Sue State Architecture Board

In a longstanding dispute over which agency has the authority to regulate engineers, the Austin Court of Appeals recently held that the Texas Society of Professional Engineers (Society) lacked standing to bring suit against the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (Board) on behalf of its members because it failed to meet the test for associational standing.  … Continue Reading

District Court Lacks Authority to Issue Injunction Against Attorney General

The Dallas Court of Appeals vacated a portion of a district court’s order directing the Office of Attorney General to remit payments to a private company that collects and disburses child-support payments for a fee.  Pursuant to Texas Government Code sec. 22.002(c), the court of appeals held that only the Texas Supreme Court has the … Continue Reading

Telephone Calls With Forum Residents Can Be Sufficient Contacts for Specifc Jurisdiction

The Fort Worth Court of Appeals recently held that participating in board meetings via telephone with Texas residents is sufficient to establish specific jurisdiction in Texas. The court of appeals distinguished the Texas Supreme Court’s opinion in Michiana Easy Livin’ Country, Inc. v. Holten as follows: “Although the supreme court has disapproved opinions holding that . … Continue Reading

Determining Diversity of Jurisdiction for Limited Liabililty Corporations

For the purpose of determining diversity jurisdiction, is a limited liability company a citizen of the state where it is organized or is it a citizen of the states of which its members are citizens?  In an issue of first impression, the Fifth Circuit, in Harvey v. Grey Wolf Drilling Co., held that a limited liability company, for diversity jurisdiction … Continue Reading