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In Re Patricia Potts

April 18, 2013

IN RE PATRICIA POTTS, RELATOR


ORIGINAL PROCEEDING WRIT OF MANDAMUS 257th &334th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 1996-50567

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jeffrey V. Brown Justice

In The Fourteenth Court of Appeals

OPINION

On March 7, 2013, relator Patricia Potts filed two petitions for writ of mandamus in this court. See Tex. Gov't Code Ann. §22.221; see also Tex. R. App. P. 52. In the petitions, relator asks this court to compel the Honorable Ken Wise, Local Administrative Judge of Harris County, to grant her permission to file litigation and an application for protective order. We deny the petitions for writ of mandamus.

BACKGROUND

The 11th District Court of Harris County issued an order on February 16, 2010, adjudicating relator as a vexatious litigant. On January 3, 2013, relator requested permission from Judge Wise to file a motion for child support enforcement. On January 5, 2013, relator requested permission from Judge Wise to file an application for protective order against her mother. On February 5, 2013, Judge Wise issued orders in both cases denying permission to file the motion for child support enforcement and denying permission to file the application for protective order. Relator now seeks relief from both court orders against Judge Wise.

MANDAMUS STANDARD

Courts will grant mandamus relief to correct a clear abuse of discretion or the violation of a duty imposed by law when there is no other adequate remedy available by appeal. In re Prudential Ins. Co. of America, 148 S.W.3d 124, 135-- 36 (Tex. 2004) (orig. proceeding). The relator generally must bring forward all that is necessary to establish a claim for relief. See Tex. R. App. P. 52.7; Dallas Morning News v. Fifth Court of Appeals, 842 S.W.2d 655, 658 (Tex. 1992). A litigant wishing to appeal a decision of a local administrative judge denying a litigant permission to file litigation under section 11.102 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code may apply for a writ of mandamus with the court of appeals. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 11.102(c) (Vernon Supp. 2012).

ANALYSIS

Chapter 11 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code addresses vexatious litigants-persons who abuse the legal system by filing numerous, frivolous lawsuits. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. §§ 11.001--11.056. Section 11.101 of the statute, under which relator was declared a vexatious litigant, provides:

(a) A court may, on its own motion or the motion of any party, enter an order prohibiting a person from filing, in propria persona, a new litigation in a court of this state if the court finds, after notice and hearing as provided by Subchapter B [sections 11.051--.057] that

(1) the person is a vexatious litigant; and

(2) the local administrative judge of the court in which the person intends to file the litigation has not granted permission to the person under Section 11.102 to file the litigation.

Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 11.101(a).

The purpose of the statute is to make it possible for courts to control their dockets rather than permitting courts to be burdened with repeated filings of frivolous and malicious litigation by litigants without hope of success while, at the same time, providing protections for litigants' constitutional rights to open courts when they have genuine claims that can survive the scrutiny of the administrative judge and the posting of security to protect defendants. In re Potts, 357 S.W.3d 766, 768 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2011, orig. proceeding). In that regard, section 11.102 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, entitled " "Permission by Local Administrative Judge," provides:

(a) A local administrative judge may grant permission to a person found to be a vexatious litigant under Section 11.101 to file a litigation only if it ...


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