Original Proceeding on Petition for Writ of Mandamus
consists of Justices Lloyd, Landau, and Countiss.
Joseph Campitelli, has filed a petition for a writ of
mandamus, challenging the trial court's order dismissing
his suit affecting the parent-child relationship for lack of
standing. We dismiss the petition.
and real party in interest, Elissa Campitelli, first lived
together beginning in 2009 or early 2010, and were married in
February 2015. Elissa's child, J.C., was born in August
2011. In June 2018, Elissa filed an original petition for
divorce, stating that "[t]here [was] no child born or
adopted of this marriage." Joseph answered Elissa's
petition and filed a counter-petition for divorce and suit
affecting the parent-child relationship (SAPCR). Joseph
asserted that he had "standing to bring [the SAPCR]
because he [had] had actual care, control, and possession of
[J.C.] for at least six months ending not more than 90 days
preceding the date of the filing of this Petition."
See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 102.003(a)(9). Elissa
responded with a Motion to Deny Relief in which she contended
that J.C. "should not be included as a child of the
divorce" because Joseph previously had signed an
Adjudication of Nonparentage in which he acknowledged that he
was not J.C.'s father. After an evidentiary hearing, the
trial court found that Joseph did not have standing and
dismissed the SAPCR. Joseph then filed his petition for a
writ of mandamus in this Court.
counsel has filed a Suggestion of Death along with a
Certificate of Death, showing that Joseph died on March 4,
2019. Counsel states that, before Joseph's death,
"the parties had executed a binding mediated settlement
agreement regarding their marital property issues," but
at the time of his death, the divorce had not yet been
finalized and they had not "resolved pending disputes
have an obligation to take into account intervening events
that may render a lawsuit moot." Heckman v.
Williamson Cty., 369 S.W.3d 137, 166-67 (Tex. 2012).
With exceptions not applicable here, a court cannot decide a
case that has become moot during the pendency of the
litigation. See id. at 162. "A case becomes
moot if, since the time of filing, there has ceased to exist
a justiciable controversy between the parties-that is, if the
issues presented are no longer 'live,' or if the
parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the
outcome." Id. Because of his death, a
justiciable controversy concerning Joseph's standing to
pursue a suit regarding a parent-child relationship with J.C.
no longer exists. See In re C.H.S., No.
07-17-00117-CV, 2017 WL 6614508, at *1 (Tex. App.-Amarillo
Dec. 20, 2017, no pet.) (mem. op.); Garcia v.
Garcia, No. 04-10-00427-CV, 2011 WL 915718, at *1 (Tex.
App.-San Antonio Mar. 16, 2011, no pet.) (mem. op.) Black
v. Black, 673 S.W.2d 269, 269 (Tex. App.-Texarkana 1984,
no writ); see also Garcia v. Daggett, 742 S.W.2d
808, 809 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1987, orig.
proceeding [leave denied]) ("Death of a party abates the
divorce action and its incidental inquiries of property
rights and child custody."). Accordingly, we conclude
that Joseph's petition for a writ of mandamus is moot,
and we must dismiss it for lack of jurisdiction. See In
re C.H.S., 2017 WL 6614508, at *1 (dismissing
father's issues challenging termination of parental
rights as moot after his death); Black, 673 S.W.2d
at 269 (concluding mother's death rendered "efforts
to gain managing conservatorship of her child" moot and
dismissing appeal); see generally In re Salverson,
No. 01-12-00384-CV, 2013 WL 557264, at *1 (Tex. App.-Houston
[1st Dist.] Feb.14, 2013, orig. proceeding) (mem. op.)
(concluding mandamus petition was moot and dismissing for
want of jurisdiction).
dismiss the petition for a writ of mandamus as moot and
vacate our January 3, 2019 order staying the trial setting.
 The underlying case is In the
Matter of the Marriage of Elissa Campitelli and Joseph
Campitelli and In the Interest of J.C., a Child, cause
number 18-DCV-252182, in the 505th District Court of Fort
Bend County, Texas, the Honorable David S. Perwin
 Joseph also filed a motion to stay a
January 16, 2019 trial setting. We granted the motion and