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Cameron County v. Valley Sandia, Ltd. Co.

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

March 29, 2018

CAMERON COUNTY AND LOS FRESNOS CONSOLIDATED INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT, Appellants,
v.
VALLEY SANDIA, LTD. CO., A TEXAS LIMITED LIABILITY CO., Appellee.

          On appeal from the 404th District Court of Cameron County, Texas.

          Before Chief Justice Valdez and Justices Contreras and Hinojosa

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ROGELIO VALDEZ Chief Justice

         Appellants Cameron County and Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District (collectively the "County") appeal the trial court's order releasing a tax lien on property belonging to appellee Valley Sandia, Ltd. Co. ("Valley Sandia"). By one multifarious issue, the County contends that the trial court abused its discretion by issuing an order in favor of Valley Sandia.[1] We affirm.

         I. Background[2]

         The County filed suit against Valley Sandia for payment of delinquent taxes on four tracts of land, which included Lots 1-10, Block 97. The trial court granted a default judgment in favor of the County on June 12, 2014; however, by agreed order, the default judgment was overturned, declared void, and a new trial was granted. The County's cause of action regarding two other tracts of land was dismissed. The only claim for delinquent taxes currently pending is regarding Lots 1-10, Block 97.

         On June 3, 2016, Valley Sandia filed an emergency motion to sell property and release the lien on Lots 1-10. The trial court held a hearing on Valley Sandia's motion, and it granted the motion on June 9, 2016. This appeal followed.

         II. Nature of the Order

         As a preliminary matter, the County claims that the trial court's order is a "mandatory injunction." Valley Sandia argues that the order is either a writ of mandamus or an order issued pursuant to the trial court's equitable powers.[3]

          A. Applicable Law

         Temporary injunctions are either prohibitive or mandatory. Tri-Star Petroleum Co. v. Tipperary Corp., 101 S.W.3d 583, 592 (Tex. App.-El Paso 2003, pet. denied). While "a prohibitive injunction forbids conduct, . . . a mandatory injunction requires it." Id. (citing Universal Health Servs., Inc. v. Thompson, 24 S.W.3d 570, 576 (Tex. App.-Austin 2000, no pet.) ("A mandatory injunction requires conduct from a party, whereas a prohibitive injunction forbids conduct.")).

         Temporary injunctions preserve the status quo pending trial on the merits. Elizondo v. Williams, 643 S.W.2d 765, 767 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 1982, no writ). Status quo is defined as "the last, actual, peaceable, non[-]contested status which preceded the pending controversy." Transport Co. of Tex. v. Robertson Transports, Inc., 261 S.W.2d 549, 553-54 (Tex. 1953) (internal quotations omitted).

Generally, the preservation of the [status] quo can be accomplished by an injunction prohibitory in form, but it sometimes happens that the status quo is a condition not of rest, but of action, and the condition of rest is exactly what will inflict the irreparable injury on complainant. In such a case, courts of equity issue mandatory writs before the case is heard on its merits. This character of cases has been repeatedly held to constitute an exception to the general rule that temporary injunction may not be resorted to to obtain all relief sought in the main action; such temporary injunction may be mandatory in character.

Rhodia, Inc. v. Harris Cty., 470 S.W.2d 415, 419-20 (Tex. Civ. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1971, no writ). A ruling on temporary injunctive relief may not be used to obtain an advance ruling on the merits. Tri-St ...


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