September 30, 2016

September 30, 2016

This week the Court issued three opinions granting Mandamus relief. One of these opinions deals with a court's ability to grant a petition for pre-litigation depositions under Rule 202.

In re City of Dallas, No. 15-0794:

In this case, the City of Corsicana, Navarro County, and Navarro College file a Rule 202 petition in county court at law seeking pre-litigation depositions in order to investigate a potential claim against the City of Dallas for tortious interference.

The trial court granted the Rule 202 petition and authorized the requested depositions, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

Reasoning that a court cannot order pre-litigation discovery under Rule 202 unless the court has subject-matter jurisdiction over the anticipated action, the Texas Supreme Court vacated and remanded for determination of whether the anticipated action would fall under the jurisdictional limits of the county court at law.

Take aways:

1. A court that does not have jurisdiction over the potential claim or anticipated action also does not have jurisdiction over a proceeding under Rule 202 seeking to investigate the potential claim or anticipated action.

2. Even if neither party contests jurisdiction, a court must determine whether it has subject-matter jurisdiction before ruling on a Rule 202 proceeding.