Current Mandamus Trends

09/02/2010

Mandamus relief, of course, requires both an abuse of discretion (or the violation of a legal duty imposed by law) and an inadequate remedy by appeal.1 But when is a remedy by appeal inadequate for review of a trial court’s incidental rulings? Never? That historically has been the general answer. Sometimes? That in recent years has been the answer under an “exceptional or compelling circumstances” test. Always? No, but the current balancing test for inadequate remedy by appeal used by the supreme court in the last several years provides a broader standard that will allow review of more incidental trial court rulings. That balancing test asks the following question:

Do the benefits of mandamus review outweigh the detriments of mandamus
review and render an appeal an inadequate remedy?

This test may not differ substantially or practically from the exceptional circumstances test of the past but does stress the case-specific analysis that the supreme court now embraces in the mandamus context.

Thus, as with the exceptional circumstances test, the answer under the balancing test is not always easy to predict. This paper summarizes the general categories of circumstances that have met the inadequate remedy by appeal standard for mandamus relief. The paper also provides a few of the current trends or hot topics in the mandamus area based upon opinions issued over the last year.

Presented to the State Bar of Texas 24th Annual Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course, September 2-3, 2010, Austin, Texas. To read the full article, click on the PDF linked below.
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1 See, e.g., Walker v. Packer, 827 S.W.2d 833, 840 (Tex. 1992, orig. proceeding).

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