Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
Petition for Writ of Mandamus.
Chief Justice Contreras and Justices Hinojosa and Tijerina
TIJERINA JUSTICE 
plaintiffs in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) proceeding
filed a petition for writ of mandamus and emergency motion in
these causes on October 22, 2019. Through this original
proceeding, relators seek to compel the MDL pretrial
court to comply with the automatic stay provided
by § 51.014(b) of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies
Code. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann.
§ 51.014(b). We conditionally grant the petition for
writ of mandamus.
case arises from an MDL proceeding regarding claims that
certain medical liens filed pursuant to the Texas Property
Code were fraudulent. See Tex. Prop. Code Ann.
§§ 55.001-.008 (governing hospital and emergency
medical services liens). Plaintiffs below and relators herein
are former emergency room patients who assert that they were
injured in accidents caused by the negligence of third
parties. They allege that the real parties in
interest filed fraudulent hospital liens to collect
payment for the medical services provided to the relators.
See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. §
12.002 (providing for civil liability related to "a
fraudulent court record or a fraudulent lien or claim against
real or personal property or an interest in real or personal
property"). In the MDL proceeding, some of the real
parties in interest filed multiple and/or consolidated
motions to dismiss the relators' claims against them
under the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA). See
id. §§ 27.001-.011. The MDL pretrial court
ultimately denied TCPA motions to dismiss in two cases,
resulting in two interlocutory appeals currently pending in
this Court in cause numbers 13-19-00461- CV and
13-19-00462-CV. The MDL pretrial court thereafter continued
to set and conduct hearings on other pending TCPA motions to
original proceeding ensued. Relators contend that the MDL
pretrial court has "refused to honor" the automatic
stay of all other proceedings pending in the MDL. By two
issues, relators contend that: (1) the stay of proceedings
imposed by § 51.014(b) after the pending interlocutory
appeals were filed applies to proceedings "in all other
individual cases consolidated for pretrial in an MDL where
the issues of fact and law common to all related cases"
are pending review by interlocutory appeal, and (2) the MDL
pretrial court abused its discretion by conducting a hearing
on October 16, 2019, on TCPA motions to dismiss "seeking
dismissal of 868 consolidated cases, and by setting an
additional 26 TCPA Motions to Dismiss in 868 consolidated
cases, setting the stage for a total of 44 interlocutory
appeals in 868 individual consolidated cases to this
sought emergency relief in connection with these original
proceedings. By order issued on October 23, 2019, this Court
granted relators' emergency motions for stay in the
instant original proceedings, and we ordered the MDL pretrial
court to stay all pending matters in that court. On October
28, 2019, the real parties in interest filed motions in these
original proceedings requesting that we reconsider our
October 23, 2019 order and lift the stay, or alternatively,
that we clarify our October 23, 2019 order. We denied the
real parties' motions to lift the stay and granted their
motions for reconsideration. We clarified that all
proceedings in these causes were stayed "and remain on
hold including legal deadlines applicable to any party
pending further order of the Court or resolution of these
original proceedings." See Tex. R. App. P.
52.10(b) ("Unless vacated or modified, an order granting
temporary relief is effective until the case is finally
decided."); In re Geomet Recycling LLC, 578
S.W.3d 82, 91 (Tex. 2019) (orig. proceeding) (explaining that
§ 51.014(b) "contains no exceptions to its
mandatory stay of 'all other proceedings in the trial
court pending resolution of that appeal'").
Court further requested that the real parties in interest, or
any others whose interest would be directly affected by the
relief sought, file a response to the petition for writ of
mandamus in these causes. See Tex. R. App. P. 52.4,
52.8. MedData, Inc. filed a response, as did McAllen
Hospitals, L.P., Universal Health Services, Inc., and UHS
Delaware, Inc. Russell DeVore and Douglas Turek filed a
joinder in these responses.
is an extraordinary remedy issued at the discretion of the
court. In re Garza, 544 S.W.3d 836, 840 (Tex. 2018)
(orig. proceeding) (per curiam). To obtain relief by writ of
mandamus, a relator must establish that an underlying order
is void or is a clear abuse of discretion and there is no
adequate appellate remedy. In re Nationwide Ins. Co. of
Am., 494 S.W.3d 708, 712 (Tex. 2016) (orig. proceeding);
see 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.
abuse of discretion occurs when a trial court's ruling is
arbitrary and unreasonable or is made without regard for
guiding legal principles or supporting evidence. In re
Nationwide Ins. Co. of Am., 494 S.W.3d at 712; Ford
Motor Co. v. Garcia, 363 S.W.3d 573, 578 (Tex. 2012). We
determine the adequacy of an appellate remedy by balancing
the benefits of mandamus review against the detriments.
In re Essex Ins. Co., 450 S.W.3d 524, 528 (Tex.
2014) (orig. proceeding); In re Prudential Ins. Co.
of Am., 148 S.W.3d at 136.
Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code provides for an
interlocutory appeal of an order that denies a motion to
dismiss filed under the TCPA. See Tex. Civ. Prac.
& Rem. Code Ann. § 51.04(a)(12). Section 51.014(b)
provides that an interlocutory appeal of such an order stays
the commencement of a trial pending resolution of the appeal
and "also stays all other ...