Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
IN RE WILDCAT MIDSTREAM HOLDINGS II, LLC, WMH CORPUS I, LLC, WMH CORPUS LAND ACQUISITION I, LLC, WMHCORPUS LAND ACQUISITION II, LLC, ANDWMH CORPUS LAND ACQUISITION III, LLC
Petition for Writ of Mandamus.
Chief Justice Valdez and Justices Contreras and Hinojosa
Memorandum Opinion by Chief Justice Valdez 
ROGELIO VALDEZ Chief Justice
Wildcat Midstream Holdings II, LLC, WMH Corpus I, LLC, WMH
Corpus Land Acquisition I, LLC, WMH Corpus Land Acquisition
II, LLC, and WMH Corpus Land Acquisition III, LLC filed a
petition for writ of mandamus seeking relief from the trial
court's denial of their motion to transfer venue from
Nueces County to San Patricio County based on mandatory venue
regarding land. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code
Ann. § 15.011 (West, Westlaw through 2017 1st
C.S.). We conditionally grant mandamus relief.
and real party in interest Express Midstream Services, LLC
(Express) brought suit against relators, Prairie Dog Partners
LLC, and Jeff Reynolds alleging multiple causes of action
relating to three tracts of land. Express had planned to
construct an oil terminal and related infrastructure on the
properties and it contacted these defendants to propose
investment in and development of the project. Ultimately, the
project fell through and Express sued these defendants for,
inter alia, breach of contract, tortious interference with
contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, conversion, and
civil conspiracy. Express sought title to the three tracts of
land, or alternatively, compensation including punitive and
exemplary damages. Express filed this suit in Nueces County,
Texas based on allegations that a substantial part of the
acts or omissions giving rise to its claims occurred there.
See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. §
15.002 (West, Westlaw through 2017 1st C.S.).
filed a motion to transfer venue to Dallas County on the
grounds that the majority of the meetings and discussions
between the parties occurred there, and that was where a
defendant's principal office was located. Express filed
an amended response and a supplemental response to the motion
to transfer venue. On March 27, 2017, the motion to transfer
venue was set for hearing on May 17, 2017. On May 10, 2017,
relators filed an amended motion to transfer venue to San
Patricio County on grounds that the land at issue in the
lawsuit was located there, and thus venue was mandatory in
that county. See id. § 15.011. In the
alternative, relators sought transfer of the case to Dallas
County on grounds that their principal offices were located
there. Relators specifically denied all of Express's
venue facts pertaining to Nueces County. Also on May 10,
2017, relators filed a memorandum of law in support of their
amended venue motion.
trial court held a non-evidentiary hearing on the motion to
transfer venue on May 17, 2017. On May 23, 2017, Express
submitted a post-submission brief in opposition to the
relators' motion to transfer venue. On May 26, 2017,
relators filed a reply in support of their amended motion to
transfer venue. On June 1, 2017, Express filed a
post-submission reply to relators' reply. That same day,
the trial court sent an email to the parties which stated
that it "appears . . . that the real property is
incidental to the business dispute" and there were
"enough contacts in Nueces County for this court to
maintain venue of the matter." The trial court stated
that the motions to transfer venue were denied and requested
that the parties submit an order to the court. On June 2,
2017, the trial court denied relators' request to
transfer venue by written order.
original proceeding ensued. By one issue, relators assert
that the trial court abused its discretion by denying their
motion to transfer venue to San Patricio County. This Court
requested and received a response to the petition for writ of
mandamus from Express and further received a reply from
relators to Express's response. See Tex. R. App.
P. 52.2, 52.4, 52.8.
general rule is that a venue ruling is not a final judgment
ripe for appeal. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code
Ann. § 15.064(a) (West, Westlaw through 2017 1st C.S.);
Tex.R.Civ.P. 87(6) ("There shall be no interlocutory
appeals from such determination."). Section 15.0642 of
the civil practice and remedies code, however, provides for
mandamus relief to enforce certain mandatory venue
provisions. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann.
§ 15.0642 (West, Westlaw through 2017 1st C.S.); In
re Transcon. Realty Inv'rs, 271 S.W.3d 270, 271
(Tex. 2008) (orig. proceeding) (per curiam); In re Tex.
Dep't of Transp., 218 S.W.3d 74, 76 (Tex. 2007)
(orig. proceeding); In re Freestone Underground Storage,
Inc., 429 S.W.3d 110, 113 (Tex. App.-Texarkana 2014,
orig. proceeding). When a relator seeks to enforce a
mandatory venue provision, the relator is not required to
prove that it lacks an adequate appellate remedy and is only
required to show that the trial court clearly abused its
discretion by failing to transfer the case. See In re
Lopez, 372 S.W.3d 174, 176 (Tex. 2012) (orig.
proceeding) (per curiam); In re Mo. Pac. R.R., 998
S.W.2d 212, 215-16 (Tex. 1999) (orig. proceeding); In re
Signorelli Co., 446 S.W.3d 470, 473 (Tex. App.- Houston
[1st Dist.] 2014, orig. proceeding). The only issue presented
in such cases is whether the trial court properly interpreted
the mandatory venue provision. In re Transcon. Realty
Inv'rs, 271 S.W.3d at 270; In re Tex. Ass'n
of Sch. Bds., 169 S.W.3d 653, 656 (Tex. 2005) (orig.
Standard of Review
original proceeding regarding the application of mandatory
venue, the appellate court reviews the trial court's
ruling on a motion to transfer for an abuse of discretion.
In re Applied Chem. Magnesias Corp., 206 S.W.3d 114,
117 (Tex. 2006) (orig. proceeding); In re Signorelli
Co., 446 S.W.3d at 473. A trial court has no discretion
in determining what the law is or in applying the law to the
facts. See In re Mo. Pac. R.R., 998 S.W.2d at 216. A
trial court abuses its discretion if it reaches a decision so
arbitrary and unreasonable as to amount to a clear and
prejudicial error of law or if it clearly fails to correctly
analyze or apply the law. In re Cerberus Capital Mgmt.,
L.P., 164 S.W.3d 379, 382 (Tex. 2005) (orig. proceeding)
(per curiam); In re Fort Bend Cty., 278 S.W.3d 842,
843 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2009, orig. proceeding).