Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
IN RE J. MICHAEL MOORE
Petition for Writ of Mandamus, Prohibition, and Injunction.
Justices Benavides, Longoria, and Perkes
M. BENAVIDES. JUSTICE 
J. Michael Moore filed a petition for writ of mandamus,
prohibition, and injunction in the above cause on October 24,
2019. Through this original proceeding, relator seeks (1) a
writ of mandamus to compel the respondent, the Honorable
Judge Fernando Mancias, to vacate his October 18, 2019 order
striking relator's plea in intervention, (2) a writ of
prohibition ordering and prohibiting the respondent from
interfering with the jurisdiction of the assigned senior
justice of the 93rd Judicial District Court, and (3) a writ
of injunction prohibiting and enjoining real parties in
interest Marco A. Cantu a/k/a Mark Cantu and Roxanne Cantu
a/k/a Roxana Cantu "or any other parties in active
concert with them" from filing any further lawsuits or
otherwise initiating pleadings in any other court
"concerning or related to the subject of these
proceedings below for the purpose of forum shopping, or to
avoid this Court's jurisdiction over any appeal in the
proceedings below." We conditionally grant the petition
for writ of mandamus and deny the petitions for writs of
prohibition and injunction.
their briefing, the parties have extensively discussed the
lengthy history and convoluted facts that provide the
backdrop to this original proceeding. Here, we confine our
recitation of the facts to those that are relevant and
necessary to resolution of the issues presented.
underlying proceedings arise from trial court cause number
C-4003-19-B in the 93rd District Court of Hidalgo County,
Texas. In the underlying proceedings, Cantu seeks the Rule
202 deposition of Ricardo Rodriguez. See Tex. R.
Civ. P. 202 (governing depositions taken before an
anticipated suit or to investigate a potential claim or
suit). On October 8, 2019, relator filed a "Plea in
Intervention and Motion to Transfer from Improper Court
Pursuant to Rule 1.2.7 Hidalgo County Local Rules and Art.
52.01." Relator asserted that he was an interested party
with a justiciable interest in the subject matter of the
allegations in the suit because "he is one of the
subjects of [Cantu's] request to initiate a criminal
prosecution." Relator alleged, in relevant part, that
Cantu had engaged in forum shopping and requested transfer of
the case from the 93rd District Court to the 92nd District
Court. That same day, relator filed a separate "Motion
to Transfer from Improper Court Pursuant to Rule 1.2.7
Hidalgo County Local Rules." This motion sought transfer
of the case from the 93rd District Court "back to the
first filed court," the 92nd District Court, because the
case "was improperly transferred" to the 93rd
District Court in violation of Rule 1.1 of the Hidalgo County
Local Rules. Relator argued that the Local Rules provided
that: "[o]n being filed, a case shall be assigned
randomly to the docket of one of the District Courts with
civil jurisdiction," and "[o]nce assigned to a
court, a case will remain on the docket of that court for all
purposes unless transferred as provided by these rules."
Relator contended that Cantu's "unlawful forum
shopping" had resulted in the case's transfer to the
93rd District Court.
October 9, 2019, the Honorable Mario Ramirez Jr., the Local
Administrative Presiding Judge, signed an "Order of
Referral and Recusal on Judge's Own Motion." The
order stated that, after having "reviewed the Plea in
Intervention and Motion to Transfer From Improper Court
Pursuant to Rule 1.2.7 Hidalgo County Local Rules and Art.
52.0 and the Motion to Transfer From Improper Court Pursuant
to Rule 1.2.7. Hidalgo County Local Rules," Judge
Ramirez found it "necessary" to recuse himself.
This order recused Judge Ramirez and "referred this
cause" to the Presiding Judge of the Fifth
Administrative Judicial Region "for assignment of a
judge to preside in this cause."
October 9, 2019, the Honorable Missy Medary, Presiding Judge
of the Fifth Administrative Judicial Region, signed an
"Order of Assignment." The order assigns J. Manuel
Bañales, Senior Judge, to the 93rd District Court
pursuant to section 74.056 of the government code. The order
specifically provides that:
The judge is assigned to preside in Cause Number C-4003-19-B
styled Marco Cantu, (Petitioner), J. Michael Moore,
(Intervenor) vs. Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo
Rodriguez (Respondent) for the limited purpose of determining
the Motion to Transfer From Improper Court Pursuant to
Rule 1.2.7 Hidalgo County Local Rules, Plea in Intervention
and Motion to Strike Plea in Intervention and Motion for
Sanctions and Response to Motion to Transfer.
October 10, 2019, Cantu filed "Plaintiffs Objection to
Appointment of Visiting Presiding Judge." On October 11,
2019, Judge Bañales signed an order setting a hearing
on Cantu's objection to be held on October 24, 2019,
"at the same date and time as the other motions."
October 15, 2019, however, the Honorable Fernando Mancias,
Presiding Judge of the 93rd District Court, signed an
"Order Setting Hearing on Plaintiffs Motion to Strike
Plea [in] Intervention and Motion for Sanctions." This
hearing was set for October 18, 2019, at 3:00 p.m.
October 17, 2019, Cantu filed "Plaintiffs Supplemental
Objection to Appointment of Visiting Presiding Judge."
Friday, October 18, 2019, at 10:09 a.m., relator filed a
letter directed to Judge Mancias. The letter enclosed the
Order of Assignment signed by Judge Medary assigning Judge
Bañales to the case and quoted portions of the letter
of assignment, including the specific matters for which Judge
Bañales had been assigned. The letter informed Judge
Mancias that Judge Bañales had set all pending
motions, including Cantu's objection to his assignment,
for hearing on October 24, 2019. The letter further stated:
On Tuesday, October 15, 2019, Marco A. Cantu obtained a
setting on the same motions as that previously set by
Presiding Judge Jose Manuel Bañales of the 93rd
District Court in this case which are subject to this
assignment, set by you for today at 3 p.m. The Order of
Assignment by the Presiding Judge of the Fifth Administrative
Region, Judge Missy Medary, commits exclusive jurisdiction of
this case over Mr. Marco A. Cantu's motions until further
order of the Administrative Presiding Judge.
Therefore, it is with all due respect that the undersigned
Intervenor requests that this Court remove the hearing set in
this matter at 3:00 o'clock p.m. today, October 18, 2019,
as any order or action taken by the Court would be a nullity,
since the Order of ...