Proceeding on Petition for Writ of Mandamus
Appeal from the 164th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Case No. 2016-50795
consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Brown and
Business Jets, LLC formerly crewed and maintained an airplane
for Glencove Holdings, LLC under contract. Glencove
terminated the contract after their business relationship
soured and Bloom placed a lien on the plane. Glencove then
sued Bloom in Harris County. Bloom responded by filing a
special appearance to challenge personal jurisdiction and a
motion to dismiss based on a forum-selection clause that
requires all litigation involving their contract to be
brought in Colorado. The trial court denied Bloom's
special appearance and motion to dismiss. Bloom now petitions
for a writ of mandamus regarding the denial of its motion to
dismiss and appeals from the denial of its special
appearance. Because we conclude that the trial court abused
its discretion by refusing to enforce the forum-selection
clause, we conditionally grant the writ and dismiss as moot
contracted with Bloom to crew and maintain an airplane but
became dissatisfied with Bloom's services and terminated
the contract within six months. After termination, Bloom
placed a lien on the plane, contending that Glencove owed it
$48, 131.65 under the contract. Bloom subsequently lowered
the lien amount to $23, 157.47. Disputing the amount owed and
contending that the lien was invalid and unenforceable,
Glencove then filed this suit, after which Bloom lowered the
lien amount again to $13, 143.57. In its suit, Glencove
sought a declaration regarding the amount owed and the
invalidity of the lien as well as an order requiring Bloom to
release the lien. Glencove also alleged causes of action for
breach of contract, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation.
It premised the latter two causes of action on
representations that Bloom allegedly made to Glencove about
the plane's management and maintenance. Finally, Glencove
requested a temporary restraining order directing Bloom to
release the lien and to refrain from trying to take
possession of the plane as well as a temporary injunction
preventing Bloom from refiling the lien.
trial court entered a temporary restraining order prohibiting
Bloom from interfering with the operation or use of the
airplane and set a hearing on Glencove's application for
a temporary injunction. The day before that hearing, Bloom
filed a consolidated special appearance and motion to
dismiss, in which it contended that the trial court lacked
personal jurisdiction over it and that the parties'
contract contained a forum-selection clause requiring this
suit to be filed in another forum. The trial court then
entered an agreed order postponing the injunction hearing. As
recited in the order, Bloom also agreed to release its lien
in exchange for payment of the amount stated in the lien,
without waving its special appearance. It is undisputed that
Glencove paid the lien and Bloom released it.
trial court subsequently heard Bloom's special appearance
and motion to dismiss and Glencove's application for a
temporary injunction. During that hearing, the court ruled
from the bench that it had specific jurisdiction over Bloom
with respect to Glencove's lien-related claims and that
its lien-related claims were not within the scope of the
forum-selection clause but that Glencove's other claims
had to be brought in Colorado. The trial court also entered a
temporary injunction, ordering Bloom not to take possession
of the plane or file any further liens on it. Bloom filed a
petition for a writ of mandamus, contending that the
forum-selection clause required dismissal of all
Glencove's claims. The following day, the trial court
entered a written order denying Bloom's special
appearance and motion to dismiss in their entirety. Its order
did not include fact findings, state the reasons for its
ruling, or explain why the court's written ruling
differed from the one it made at the hearing. Bloom then
filed an interlocutory appeal from the court's denial of
its special appearance.
Standard of review and applicable law
obtain a writ of mandamus, the relator must show that the
trial court's order is void or a clear abuse of
discretion and that there is not an adequate appellate
remedy. In re Nationwide Ins. Co. of Am., 494 S.W.3d
708, 712 (Tex. 2016). A trial court abuses its discretion if
its ruling is arbitrary and unreasonable or made without
regard for guiding legal principles or supporting evidence.
Id. A trial court also abuses its discretion if it
fails to analyze or apply the law correctly. Id.
forum-selection clauses generally are enforceable.
Id. Indeed, they are presumptively valid. In re
Laibe Corp., 307 S.W.3d 314, 316 (Tex. 2010) (per
curiam); Vak v. Net Matrix Solutions, 442 S.W.3d
553, 558-59 (Tex. App.- Houston [1st Dist.] 2014, no pet.). A
trial court therefore abuses its discretion if it fails to
properly interpret or enforce a forum-selection clause.
In re Lisa Laser USA, Inc., 310 S.W.3d 880, 883
(Tex. 2010) (per curiam).
addressing a forum-selection clause, the trial court first
must make a common-sense examination of the claims asserted
in the suit and determine whether they are within the scope
of the clause. In re Int'l Profit Assocs., 274
S.W.3d 672, 677 (Tex. 2009) (per curiam); Loya v.
Loya, 507 S.W.3d 871, 876 (Tex. App.- Houston [1st
Dist.] 2016, no pet.). In interpreting the clause, the court
applies ordinary principles of contract interpretation,
according its terms their usual meaning without reference to
evidence outside of the contract if it is unambiguous.
Loya, 507 S.W.3d 876. A party may not evade the
scope of the clause by artfully pleading its claims. In
re Int'l Profit Assocs., 274 S.W.3d at 677. In
general, as long as the rights and duties of the parties
arise from the contract, the claims are ...