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 Payne

Court of Appeals of Texas, Tenth District

December 13, 2017

IN RE ROYE RAY PAYNE

          Before Chief Justice Gray, Justice Davis, and Justice Scoggins

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          AL SCOGGINS Justice

         In this original proceeding, we are asked to determine whether the respondent, the Honorable David L. Hodges, sitting by assignment in the 220th Judicial District Court, abused his discretion by holding relator, Roye Ray Payne, in contempt for purportedly violating a 2010 permanent injunction by placing a locked gate across a roadway. Because we conclude that the challenged conduct is outside the scope of the 2010 permanent injunction, we conclude that the respondent abused his discretion by holding Payne in contempt. We therefore conditionally grant Payne's petition for writ of mandamus.

          I. Standard of Review

         Mandamus is an extraordinary remedy that will issue only to correct a clear abuse of discretion when there is "no adequate remedy by appeal." In re Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 148 S.W.3d 124, 135-36 (Tex. 2004) (orig. proceeding) (citations omitted). "A trial court has no 'discretion' in determining what the law is or applying the law to the facts." Walker v. Packer, 827 S.W.2d 833, 840 (Tex. 1992). "Thus, a clear failure by the trial court to analyze or apply the law correctly will constitute an abuse of discretion." Id. (citations omitted). In addition, a trial court clearly abuses its discretion if it reaches a decision so arbitrary and unreasonable as to amount to a clear and prejudicial error of law. Id. at 839. Regarding the resolution of factual issues or matters committed to the trial court's discretion, relator must establish that the trial court could reasonably have reached only one decision. Id. at 839-40. We cannot disturb the trial court's decision unless it is shown to be arbitrary and unreasonable, even if we would have decided the issue differently. Id. at 840.

         With respect to the "adequate remedy by appeal" prong, the Texas Supreme Court has noted that the operative word, "adequate, " does not have a comprehensive definition. In re Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 148 S.W.3d at 136. "Instead, it is simply a proxy for the careful balance of jurisprudential considerations that determine when appellate courts will use original mandamus proceedings to review the actions of lower courts. In re Reynolds, 369 S.W.3d 638, 646 (Tex. App.-Tyler 2012, orig. proceeding) (citing In re Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 148 S.W.3d at 136). "These considerations include both public and private interests, and the determination is practical and prudential rather than abstract or formulaic." Id. (citing In re Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 148 S.W.3d at 136). Therefore, an appellate remedy may be inadequate when the benefits to mandamus review outweigh the detriments. See In re McAllen Med. Ctr., Inc., 275 S.W.3d 458, 462, 468-69 (Tex. 2008) (orig. proceeding); In re Team Rocket, L.P., 256 S.W.3d 257, 262 (Tex. 2008) (orig. proceeding). "Mandamus will not issue when the law provides another, plain, adequate, and complete remedy." In re Tex. Dep't of Family & Protective Servs., 210 S.W.3d 609, 613 (Tex. 2006).

         II. Analysis

         In 2010, plaintiffs Robert and Lisa Doty obtained declaratory and injunctive relief establishing the existence of and prohibiting the interference with a public roadway along the adjoining boundaries of three tracts-the George Bond A-102, Gertrudis Cherino A-119, and W.D. Lacy A-1221 surveys.[1] Specifically, the trial court's judgment stated that:

A public roadway exists in Bosque County, Texas along the course of CR 3237 and lying along the adjoining boundaries of the George Bond A-102, Gertrudis Cherino A-119, and W.D. Lacy A-1221 surveys, to the southern property line of the Plaintiffs' property (Robert Frank Doty, Tract 2) all as shown in the highlighted portion of the survey plat which is attached to this judgment as Exhibit A and incorporated by reference.

         Exhibit A of the 2010 judgment indicated that the portion of the roadway in question formed an "L."[2] In any event, Payne was permanently enjoined from "blocking, obstructing, closing, damaging, or in any manner interfering with the use of that public roadway." Payne appealed, and the Eleventh Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's determination that the "L"-shaped portion of the road is a public roadway. See, e.g., Payne v. Doty, No. 11-10-00181-CV, 2011 Tex.App. LEXIS 9929 (Tex. App.-Eastland Dec. 15, 2011, no pet.) (mem. op.) ("(the 'L' is the portion of the road at issue in this case) . . . . After reviewing all of the evidence in this case, we hold that the evidence is legally and factually sufficient to support the trial court's finding that the road at issue was a public road. From the evidence presented, the trial court could have determined that the road had become public either by its long-continued use and adoption as a road by the county commissioners or by an implied dedication.").

         Later, on May 1, 2017, the Holts filed a motion for contempt, alleging that Payne violated the 2010 permanent injunction by "blocking the use of the public road, County Road 3237, by placing a gate across such public road." Payne denied the Holts' allegations.

         Thereafter, the trial court conducted a hearing on the Holts' motion for contempt, and at the conclusion of the hearing, concluded that Payne violated the 2010 permanent injunction by "blocking the use of the public road, County Road 3237, by placing a gate across such public road and affixing a lock on the gate." Accordingly, the trial court held Payne in contempt and ordered him to remove the lock on the gate and pay the Holts $4, 500 in attorney's fees. The trial court also determined:

The Court further finds that the portion of County Road 3237 which extends from the gate installed by Payne to the L-shaped portion of the public road highlighted on the attachment to the original Judgment entered herein on May 3rd 2010, and designated in the survey as no longer being maintained by the county, is third a [sic] ...

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.