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.

Recent orders (2017) have added a reference to the relevant TRAP – “Based on the record before us, we conclude relator has not shown it is entitled to the relief requested. Accordingly, we DENY relator’s petition for writ of mandamus. . See TEX. R. APP. P. 52.8(a) (the court must deny the petition if the court determines relator is not entitled to the relief sought).”

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.)

Another phrase in an appropriate case is “A clear failure by the trial court to analyze or apply the law correctly constitutes an abuse of discretion. Walker v. Packer, 827 S.W.2d 833, 840 (Tex. 1992); In re: Tex. Am. Express, Inc., 190 S.W.3d 720, 724 (Tex. App.–Dallas 2005, orig. proceeding).

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).