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Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. v. Walker

Supreme Court of Texas
May 2, 1990
787 S.W.2d 954 (Tex. 1990)

Summary

holding that generally a trial court's ruling on a plea to the jurisdiction is not subject to review by mandamus because an adequate remedy by appeal often exists

Summary of this case from In re Long

Opinion

No. C-9099.

May 2, 1990.

David Broiles, George Galerstein, William F. Peters, Jr., Sterling W. Steves, Fort Worth, for relators.

Michael B. Sydow, Houston, Jose Batista Dos Santos, Fort Worth, Kelli M. McDonald, Houston, for respondent.


Relators are defendants in a wrongful death action brought by the real parties in interest as beneficiaries of persons killed in a helicopter crash about twenty miles off the coast of Brazil. Decedents, who were not citizens or residents of the United States, were being transported to work on offshore oil platforms in waters over the continental shelf of Brazil. Relators contend that undisputed facts establish that the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. § 688(b) (1982), precludes plaintiffs from asserting their claims in any United States court. Thus, relators contend, the trial court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiffs' claims. Similar contentions are before the Court in Jackson v. S.P. Leasing Corp., No. C-8819 (argued Dec. 6, 1989), writ of error granted from 774 S.W.2d 673 (Tex.App. — Texarkana 1989). We need not reach these issues in the present case, however, and express no opinion on their ultimate merit. We conclude, instead, that relators are not entitled to mandamus relief because they have an adequate remedy by appeal.

We have consistently held that we lack jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus to supervise or correct incidental rulings of a trial judge when there is an adequate remedy by appeal. "Such incidental rulings include . . . pleas to the jurisdiction, . . . [even if] it might logically be argued that the petitioner for the writ was entitled, as a matter of law, to the action sought to be compelled." Abor v. Black, 695 S.W.2d 564, 566-567 (Tex. 1985), quoting Pope v. Ferguson, 445 S.W.2d 950, 954 (Tex. 1969), cert. denied, 397 U.S. 997, 90 S.Ct. 1138, 25 L.Ed.2d 405 (1970). Generally, the cost and delay of pursuing an appeal will not, in themselves, render appeal an inadequate alternative to mandamus review. See Iley v. Hughes, 158 Tex. 362, 311 S.W.2d 648, 652 (1958); but cf. Proffer v. Yates, 734 S.W.2d 671 (Tex. 1987) (mandamus appropriate to direct transfer of child support case because justice demands speedy resolution of such cases). Relators' application does not fall within any recognized exception to these general rules. Therefore, leave to file relators' petition for writ of mandamus is denied.


Summaries of

Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. v. Walker

Supreme Court of Texas
May 2, 1990
787 S.W.2d 954 (Tex. 1990)

holding that generally a trial court's ruling on a plea to the jurisdiction is not subject to review by mandamus because an adequate remedy by appeal often exists

Summary of this case from In re Long

holding that generally a trial court's ruling on a plea to the jurisdiction is not subject to review by mandamus because an adequate remedy by appeal often exists

Summary of this case from In re Texas Mutual Insurance Company.

concluding that mandamus was not appropriate to review trial court's ruling on plea to the jurisdiction

Summary of this case from In re Entergy Corp.

concluding mandamus is not appropriate to review a trial court's ruling on a plea to the jurisdiction

Summary of this case from IN RE CONTINENTAL CAS

denying leave to file petition for writ of mandamus where relators claimed that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction

Summary of this case from Canadian Helicopters Ltd. v. Wittig

In Bell, the Court determined that the lack of subject matter jurisdiction did not fall within any of the recognized exceptions to the general rule that mandamus will not lie when there is an adequate remedy by appeal. The Court referred to an earlier case which held that incidental rulings include a myriad of interlocutory orders and judgments in which it might logically be argued that the petitioner for the writ was entitled as a matter of law to the action sought to be compelled. Abor v. Black, 695 S.W.2d 564, 567 (Tex. 1985).

Summary of this case from Corpus Christi Caller-Times v. Mancias
Case details for

Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. v. Walker

Case Details

Full title:BELL HELICOPTER TEXTRON, INC., et al., Relators, v. The Honorable Jeff…

Court:Supreme Court of Texas

Date published: May 2, 1990

Citations

787 S.W.2d 954 (Tex. 1990)

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