In today’s order list:

Two Decisions

  • Guitar Holding Company, L.P. v. Hudspeth County Underground Water Conservation District No. 1, No. 06-0904. Justice Medina delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. This is a case about water-permit applications in which the Court held that the district had exceeded its statutory authority.

  • In re Zandi, No. 07-0919 (per curiam). Through a per curiam opinion, the Court granted a writ of habeas corpus to release a person held on criminal contempt charges for failure to comply with a child-support order. That order imposed conditions that Zandi would have to meet or face confinement The Court ultimately held that those provisions were not clear enough to meaningfully apprise Zandi of what he would be required to do to comply and thus avoid confinement.

Two New Grants

The Court also granted two new petitions for review. The dates for oral argument have not yet been set.

  • Retamco Operating, Inc. v. Republic Drilling Co., No. 07-0599. This is a personal jurisdiction case in which the court of appeals frames the question this way: “Is a single tortious act sufficient to confer specific jurisdiction?”

  • Spectrum Healthcare Resources, Inc. v. McDaniel, No. 07-0787. This case is about whether a docket-control agreement between the litigants in a parallel federal court case acted to extend the time to serve medical-expert reports in a Texas state case.

Medical Malpractice Mandamus Update

In addition, the Court dismissed without prejudice two long-pending petitions for mandamus relief in cases challenging medical-expert reports. On the order list, the Court noted that the petitions had failed to comply with Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 52.3(e), which generally requires that petitions for mandamus relief first be filed in the intermediate court of appeals. The petitions appears to be related: In re McAllen Medical Center, No. 06-0098, and In re Starr County Memorial District, No. 06-0105.

What’s a little odd is the timing. Both of these petitions had been pending since early 2006. In each, the Court requested a response in March 2006, and that response was filed in April 2006. In neither case had the Court yet requested full briefing on the merits.

It’s possible that the Rule 52.3(e) issue was simply overlooked. But given the significant number of other pending medical-malpractice cases on the Court’s submarine docket, the timing of these dismissals may suggest that the Court is actively working on opinions in some of those other cases as well.