Court of Appeals of Texas, Third District, Austin
In re Volkswagen Clean Diesel Litigation: Texas Clean Air Act Enforcement Cases
THE DISTRICT COURT OF TRAVIS COUNTY, 353RD JUDICIAL DISTRICT
NO. D-1-GN-16-000370, HONORABLE TIM SULAK, JUDGE PRESIDING
Chief Justice Rose, Justices Field and Bourland
Group of America, Inc. and Porsche Cars North America, Inc.,
(collectively, "Volkswagen") have filed a motion to
stay all proceedings in the underlying multi-district
litigation (MDL) pre-trial court pending resolution of the
State's interlocutory appeal of the MDL court's
denial of its plea to the jurisdiction. In its motion,
Volkswagen asserts that the automatic stay applicable to such
interlocutory appeals operates to stay proceedings in all of
the cases transferred to the MDL pretrial court, not just the
proceedings in the individual cases in which the State has
filed an interlocutory appeal. We agree.
interlocutory appeal [of an order granting or denying a plea
to the jurisdiction by a governmental unit] stays the
commencement of a trial in the trial court proceeding"
and, relevant here, "stays all other proceedings in the
trial court" pending final determination of the
appeal. The State argues that this provision stays
proceedings only in those causes of action in which the State
has filed an interlocutory appeal, and not the proceedings in
those causes where no appeal has been taken. But even in a
limited legal context, the word "proceeding"
requires broad interpretation. It can encompass "the
various stages of the progress of a lawsuit,
" or it can extend beyond the parameters of
a single "lawsuit" or "action" to refer
generally to "the business conducted by a
court." Considering the automatic-stay provision
in the context of MDL pre-trial litigation-i.e., several
separate causes of action transferred to a district court for
consolidated or coordinated consideration of pre-trial
matters-"all other proceedings in the trial court"
necessarily encompasses all the activities and hearings in
the MDL pretrial court case, not only the proceedings in the
individual causes of action before the MDL pretrial court
that are subject to the State's interlocutory appeal. And
in fact, the MDL pre-trial court here treats these cases as
one, having docketed the cases under a single cause number.
Moreover, to interpret this provision otherwise would
seriously hamper the purposes of "promot[ing] the just
and efficient conduct of the [transferred] cases" as
espoused by the MDL rules.
State asserts, in a motion to strike Volkswagen's motion
as an improperly filed original proceeding, that an original
proceeding is the only available avenue for the relief
Volkswagen seeks. In support of this assertion, the State
points to Volkswagen's argument to the trial court that
"Mandamus relief is the appropriate remedy when a trial
court refuses to recognize or enforce the automatic stay
provided by section 51.014(b), " and to the fact that
every case cited by Volkswagen in support of its request for
relief involves an original proceeding. But we find no
authority supporting the State's position that an
original proceeding is the only avenue for the
relief sought by Volkswagen here. We also disagree with the
State's alternative argument that we lack jurisdiction
over Volkswagen's motion because "Volkswagen was not
a party to the pleas to the jurisdiction, " citing to
Rule 25.1's grant of appellate jurisdiction "over
all parties to the trial court's judgment or order
appealed from." If for no other reason than the fact
that Volkswagen is a named defendant in each of those orders,
Volkswagen is a party to the trial court's order.
the State's motion to strike, grant Volkswagen's
motion to stay, and order that all proceedings in the MDL
pre-trial court cause number D-1-GN-16-000370 are stayed
pending resolution of the State's interlocutory appeal.
It is ordered on January 11, 2017.
 For additional background information
regarding the MDL proceeding see In re Volkswagen Clean
Diesel Litig.: Texas Clean Air Enf't Actions,
S.W.3d, No. 03-16-00673-CV, 2016 WL 6575241 (Tex. App.-Austin
Nov. 4, 2016) (denying State's application for permissive
 See Tex. Civ. Prac. &
Rem. Code § 51.014(a)(8) (authorizing interlocutory
appeal from denial of State's plea to the
 See id. § 51.014(b)
("An interlocutory appeal under Subsection (a) . . . (8)
. . . stays all other proceedings in the trial court pending
resolution of that appeal.").
 Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §
See Mellon Serv. Co. v. Touche
Ross & Co., 946 S.W.2d 862, 868-69 & n7 (Tex.
App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1997, ...