Mandamus

It’s worth remembering the shorthand that the Dallas Court uses, in its short memorandum opinions denying mandamus relief, to describe the requirements for the writ: “Ordinarily, to obtain mandamus relief, a relator must show both that the trial court has clearly abused its discretion and that relator has no adequate appellate remedy. In re: Prudential Ins. Co., 148 S.W.3d 124, 135–36 (Tex. 2004) (orig. proceeding). Having carefully reviewed the petition and record in support of the petition, we conclude relator has failed to establish a right to relief.”  E.g., In re Duncan, No. 05-15-01318-CV (Nov. 23, 2015, mem. op.)

While this succinct phrase is not controversial, it is worth noting that Prudential is still the “go-to” cite, and the basic two-factor test still the standard reference, despite the more exotic formulations of the Texas mandamus standards by other cases and commentators in the decade-plus since Prudential.

One recent cases added a slight “spin” to that basic phrase, noting: “Mandamus is not a substitute for appeal.  In re: Bernson, 254 S.W.3d 594, 596 (Tex. App.–Amarillo 2008, orig. proceeding).”  In re Thorpe, No. 05-16-00148-CV (Feb. 25, 2016) (mem. op.)

The recent opinion of In re Fort Apache Energy Inc. refers to Prudential as a “balancing test,” albeit not one that allows the disregard of earlier Texas Supreme Court authority; the dissent in that case provides a classic illustration of a broader view about the role of mandamus.  No. 05-15-00159-CV (Dec. 16, 2015).