NEPHROLOGY LEADERS AND ASSOCIATES AND M. ATIQ DADA, MD, Appellants
AMERICAN RENAL ASSOCIATES LLC, Appellee
Appeal from the 190th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Case No. 2017-21479
consists of Justices Keyes, Higley, and Landau.
CARTER HIGLEY JUSTICE
Leaders and Associates, PLLC and M. Atiq Dada, M.D.
(collectively, "Nephrology") appeal the trial
court's order temporarily sealing certain documents that
third party American Renal Associates, LLC sought to protect
from Nephrology's subpoena. In two issues, Nephrology argues
that the trial court abused its discretion by setting the
motion for a hearing sua sponte and that the
evidence is insufficient to support the order.
Renal argues that Nephrology lacks standing to bring this
appeal. We agree, and dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.
initiated the underlying suit against McGuireWoods, LLP (not
a party to this appeal) for breach of fiduciary duties
arising from prior legal representation. In seeking discovery
for the case, Nephrology subpoenaed documents from third
party American Renal. In response, American Renal filed a
motion for protective order, arguing that Nephrology had
released its right to conduct discovery in this matter under
two release agreements ("the Releases"), which
Nephrology attached as exhibits and filed in camera. At the
same time, American Renal filed the subject motion to
temporarily and permanently seal the two releases pursuant to
Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 76a.
months later, American Renal set its motion for protective
order for a "submission hearing" to occur on March
12, 2018. On March 9, the trial court added American
Renal's motion to seal to its March 12 submission hearing
docket so that the two motions were set together. The day
after the submission hearing, the trial court signed an order
temporarily sealing the documents under Rule 76a. Nephrology
appeals this order.
matter jurisdiction is essential to the authority of a court
to decide a case." Tex. Ass'n of Bus. v. Tex.
Air Control Bd., 852 S.W.2d 440, 443 (Tex. 1993);
accord Heckman v. Williamson Cty., 369 S.W.3d 137,
150 (Tex. 2012) ("A court has no jurisdiction over a
claim made by a plaintiff who lacks standing to assert
it."). Appellate courts always have jurisdiction to
resolve questions of subject-matter jurisdiction, and we do
so via de novo review. State v. Naylor, 466 S.W.3d
783, 787 (Tex. 2015).
is implicit in the concept of subject matter
jurisdiction." Tex. Ass'n of Bus., 852
S.W.2d at 443. It is "a constitutional prerequisite to
suit," and courts have no jurisdiction over and thus
must dismiss claims made by parties who lack standing to
assert them. Heckman, 369 S.W.3d at 150-51.
plaintiffs must have standing to bring suit, appellants must
have standing to appeal trial court judgments. Tex.
Quarter Horse Ass'n v. Am. Legion Dep't of Tex.,
496 S.W.3d 175, 181 (Tex. App.-Austin 2016, no pet.) (citing
Naylor, 466 S.W.3d at 787)); see also Torrington
Co. v. Stutzman, 46 S.W.3d 829, 843 (Tex. 2000)
("[A]n appealing party may not complain of errors that
do not injuriously affect it or that merely affect the rights
determining whether an appellant has standing, a party's
status in the trial court is not controlling. Tex.
Quarter Horse, 496 S.W.3d at 184. The "ultimate
inquiry is whether the appellant possesses a justiciable
interest in obtaining relief from the lower court's
judgment." Id. (citing Torrington, 46
S.W.3d at 843-44 (appellate standing requires party's own
interests prejudiced by alleged error)). Specifically, to
have standing, an appellant must be personally aggrieved,
meaning "his alleged injury must be concrete and
particularized, actual or imminent, not hypothetical."
Fin. Comm'n of Tex. v. Norwood, 418 S.W.3d 566,
580 (Tex. 2013) (quoting DaimlerChrysler Corp. v.
Inman, 252 S.W.3d 299, 304-305 (Tex. 2008)); accord
McAllen Med. Ctr., Inc. v. Cortez, 66 S.W.3d 227, 234
(Tex. 2001) ("[S]tanding requires that the controversy
adversely affect the party seeking review."). And his
injury must be "likely to be redressed by the requested
relief." Heckman, 369 ...