Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
Original Mandamus Proceeding 
Bryan Marion, Chief Justice, Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice,
Irene Rios Justice
William Forney, Jr. ("Forney, Jr."), William
Forney, III ("Forney III"), John M. Forney
("JM Forney"), Ricky Haikin, and Larry Wyont filed
a petition for writ of mandamus complaining about the trial
court's denial of their pleas in abatement in a suit
filed by McCombs Energy, Ltd. and McCombs Energy GP, LLC.
(collectively, "McCombs Energy"). We deny
March 10, 2017, Forney, Jr., Forney III, JM Forney, and
Haikin sued McCombs Energy in a Harris County district court.
McCombs Energy answered and filed counter-claims. On March
29, 2017, McCombs Energy sued those individuals, along with
Wyont, Forney, Jr.'s two brothers, and three business
entities, in a Bexar County district court.
and others filed motions to transfer venue of the Bexar
County case to Harris County. Alternatively, relators also
filed pleas in abatement asking the Bexar County court to
abate that suit in favor of the Harris County court's
dominant jurisdiction. Following a hearing, the Bexar County
court denied the motions to transfer venue and pleas in
abatement. In this proceeding, relators complain only about
the denial of the pleas in abatement.
obtain mandamus relief, a relator generally must show both
the trial court clearly abused its discretion and relator has
no adequate remedy by appeal. In re Prudential Ins. Co.
of Am., 148 S.W.3d 124, 135-36 (Tex. 2004) (orig.
proceeding); Walker v. Packer, 827 S.W.2d 833,
839-40 (Tex. 1992) (orig. proceeding).
argue the trial court abused its discretion by denying their
pleas in abatement because the Harris County court has
dominant jurisdiction over the Bexar County suit. As a
general rule, "where inherently interrelated suits are
pending in two counties, and venue is proper in either
county, the court in which suit was first filed acquires
dominant jurisdiction . . . [and] the court in the second
action must abate the suit, " unless an
exception applies. In re Red Dot Bldg. Sys., Inc.,
504 S.W.3d 320, 322 (Tex. 2016) (per curiam) (orig.
proceeding) (emphasis in original). "[I]f the court in
the second action abuses its discretion by not abating the
action, no additional showing is required for mandamus
relief." Id. at 322; see also In re J.B.
Hunt Transp., Inc., 492 S.W.3d 287, 299-300 (Tex. 2016)
(orig. proceeding) ("[A] relator need only establish a
trial court's abuse of discretion to demonstrate
entitlement to mandamus relief with regard to a plea in
abatement in a dominant-jurisdiction case.").
proceeding, the parties dispute whether the two lawsuits are
determining whether the subject matter of two suits is
inherently interrelated, we are "guided by the rule
governing persons to be joined if feasible and the compulsory
counterclaim rule." Wyatt v. Shaw Plumbing Co.,
760 S.W.2d 245, 247 (Tex. 1988). The compulsory counterclaim