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In re Kosmos Energy Sao Tome and Principe

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

June 6, 2019

IN RE KOSMOS ENERGY SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE, Relator

          ORIGINAL PROCEEDING WRIT OF MANDAMUS 157th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 2017-71987

          Panel consists of Chief Justice Frost and Justices Wise and Zimmerer.

          MAJORITY OPINION

          KEN WISE JUSTICE.

         On March 28, 2019, relator Kosmos Energy Sao Tome and Principe filed a petition for writ of mandamus in this court. See Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 22.221 (Supp.); see also Tex. R. App. P. 52. In the petition, relator asks this court to compel the Honorable Tanya Garrison, presiding judge of the 157th District Court of Harris County, to vacate the part of her March 4, 2019 order denying relator's motion to quash the deposition of Andrew Inglis and requiring relator to produce Mr. Inglis for deposition.

         To obtain mandamus relief, a relator must show that the trial court clearly abused its discretion. In re Prudential Ins. Co., 148 S.W.3d 124, 135-36 (Tex. 2004) (orig. proceeding); In re Garza, 544 S.W.3d 836, 840 (Tex. 2018) (orig. proceeding) (per curiam). Relator has not shown that the trial court clearly abused its discretion. We therefore deny relator's petition for writ of mandamus.

         CONCURRING OPINION

          Kem Thompson Frost Chief Justice.

         Today the court addresses the merits of relator Kosmos Energy Sao Tome and Principe's petition for writ of mandamus and denies relief, concluding that Kosmos failed to show that the respondent trial judge clearly abused her discretion in denying Kosmos's motion to quash the deposition of Andrew Inglis and requiring Kosmos to produce him for deposition. This court should not reach the merits because Kosmos has failed to show that the record provided to this court is the same record the trial court reviewed in making its decision.

         Shortly after filing its petition for writ of mandamus and mandamus record, Kosmos sought to withdraw the original mandamus record and file an amended mandamus record. The proffered amended record contained redacted documents. The original one had no redactions. By filing an amended record rather than a supplemental record, the amended record would take the place of the original record and essentially make the original record unavailable to the court and to the public. If, instead, Kosmos had filed a supplemental record with the same redactions, then this court could have decided the case on the unredacted record because the record would have consisted of both the redacted version and the unredacted version. By amending rather than supplementing, Kosmos effectively substituted the redacted record for the unredacted one and made it impossible for this court to review what the trial court reviewed.

         The parties have not asserted that the trial court put the redacted documents under seal or that the trial court reviewed them under seal or that the documents were similarly redacted in the trial court.

         Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 76a, entitled "Sealing Court Records," provides that court records, as defined in the rule, other than orders or opinions, are presumed to be open to the general public and may be sealed only upon a showing of each of the following:

(a) a specific, serious and substantial interest which clearly outweighs:
(1) this presumption of openness;
(2) any probable adverse effect that sealing will have upon the general public ...

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