IN RE HOUSTON LIVESTOCK SHOW AND RODEO, INC., Relator
Original Proceeding on Petition for Writ of Mandamus
consists of Justices Lloyd, Landau, and Countiss.
Russell Lloyd, Justice.
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Inc. (HLSR), has filed a
petition for a writ of mandamus, challenging the trial
court's order granting a Motion to Consolidate/Transfer
HLSR's declaratory judgment suit from one Harris County
district court to another Harris County district court. The
defendant in the declaratory judgment action and the real
party in interest is Dolcefino Communications, LLC, doing
business as Dolcefino Consulting (Dolcefino). In its sole
issue, HLSR contends that the trial court abused its
discretion in granting the motion and HLSR is entitled to
relief because it does not have an adequate remedy by appeal.
We conditionally grant the petition.
Ana Williams filed suit, in Harris County district court,
against HLSR, two individuals, and the Los Vaqueros Rio
Grande Trail Ride Association, seeking damages arising from a
sexual assault at a trail ride event (the "personal
injury suit"). The personal injury suit was assigned to
the 334th District Court of Harris County and docketed as
cause number 2017-19367.
retained Dolcefino "as an investigative
consultant." On March 23, 2018, Dolcefino sent to HLSR,
in correspondence that made no reference to the personal
injury suit, "a formal request to inspect and if desired
obtain copies of records" under section 22.353 of the
Texas Business Organizations Code. Dolcefino requested
"[a] searchable ledger detailing payments made to any
security company" from January 1, 2012 through December
31, 2013, and January 1, 2017 through the present; and
"PDF copies of documents detailing any payments made to
settle any litigation involving harassment or assault,
redacted to exclude any information made confidential under
state law, between January 1, 2012 through the present."
During the next several months, Dolcefino also requested
inspection of other financial records and documents,
• "[f]inancial records detailing the purchase of
all furniture since January 1, 2016";
• "[f]inancial records" detailing expenditures
for travel and entertainment since January 1, 2016";
• "[f]inancial records detailing the prizes and
awards for Champion livestock at the Rodeo for the last two
years, including the payments to the winners, and documents
detailing the use of all remaining proceeds";
• "financial records detailing the purchase of any
services or materials or anything of value from any Board
Members as identified in 990 tax returns since January 1,
• "[s]alaries and compensation of all current rodeo
officers and employees";
• "[d]ocuments detailing any complaints of sexual
harassment or sexual assault from Jan. 1, 2013 to the
• "[d]ocuments detailing all employees terminated
from Jan. 1, 2013 to the present"; and
• "[d]ocuments detailing all expenditures on travel
and entertainment from Jan. 1, 2013 to the present."
Dolcefino sent his initial request, HLSR moved for a
protective order in the 334th District Court where the
personal injury suit was pending, contending that
"[n]one of the permissible forms of discovery includ[ed]
a public inspection request to a non-profit
institution." HLSR asserted that Williams was
"attempting to circumvent" the discovery rules
"by abusing" section 22.353 and "having
[Dolcefino] obtain certain financial documents of HLSR
outside allowable discovery," and Dolcefino was
"attempting to obtain information that [Williams] would
not be entitled to obtain through the normal course of
discovery and use such information in the instant lawsuit and
to create negative publicity in an effort to prejudice
HLSR." The trial court denied HLSR's motion.
also filed a verified Complaint of Violations of Chapter
22-Texas Business Organizations Code with the Harris County
District Attorney's Office stating that, on March 23,
2018, Dolcefino "filed a request for information with
[HLSR] under Chapter 22 of the Texas Business Organizations
Code," and HLSR "then filed a protective order in a
current civil litigation to withhold records sought."
The complaint also stated ...