Generally, “[m]andamus is an extraordinary remedy granted only when the relator shows that the trial court abused its discretion and that no adequate appellate remedy exists.” The Texas Supreme Court recently stated that “mandamus review is not—and should not be—an easily wielded tool, but such review of significant rulings in exceptional cases may be essential to, among other things, ‘spare private parties and the public the time and money utterly wasted enduring eventual reversal of improperly conducted proceedings.’” That statement is consistent with the supreme court’s past and continuing treatment of mandamus as a limited remedy and further reflects the “heavily circumstantial” nature of the “benefit-and-detriment analysis” by which its use is to be determined.
Although the standard for granting mandamus relief can differ based on particular circumstances, the primary focus of this article is the availability of mandamus relief to correct a clear abuse of discretion by a lower court when there is no adequate remedy by appeal. During the Survey period of this article, December 1, 2015, through November 30, 2016, the Texas Supreme Court delivered opinions in fifteen mandamus cases. Fourteen of those fifteen opinions involved requests for relief pursuant to that standard. This article analyzes, summarizes, and categorizes those fourteen opinions to examine and describe the supreme court’s current decisional approach.
Honorable Douglas S. Lang, et al., Survey of Recent Mandamus Decisions of the Texas Supreme Court, 3 SMU Ann. Tex. Surv. 265 (2017)