Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Wildcat Midstream Holdings II, LLC

Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg

November 15, 2017

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

         On Petition for Writ of Mandamus.

          Before Chief Justice Valdez and Justices Contreras and Hinojosa Memorandum Opinion by Chief Justice Valdez [1]

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ROGELIO VALDEZ Chief Justice

         Relators 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.).[2] We conditionally grant mandamus relief.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff 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.[3] 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.).

         Relators 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.

         The 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.

         This 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.

          II. Mandamus

         The 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. proceeding).

         III. Standard of Review

         In an 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).

         IV. Motion ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.