945 S.W.2d 268 (Tex.App. - San Antonio 1997), 04-97-00167, Safety-Kleen Corp. v. Garcia

Docket Nº:04-97-00167-CV.
Citation:945 S.W.2d 268
Party Name:SAFETY-KLEEN CORP., Relator, v. The Honorable Ricardo H. GARCIA, Respondent.
Case Date:April 17, 1997
Court:Court of Appeals of Texas
 
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Page 268

945 S.W.2d 268 (Tex.App. —San Antonio 1997)

SAFETY-KLEEN CORP., Relator,

v.

The Honorable Ricardo H. GARCIA, Respondent.

No. 04-97-00167-CV.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio

April 17, 1997

J. Truscott Jones, James J. McGoldrick, The Jones Law Firm, Dallas, for appellant.

Hector P. Gonzalez, Law Offices of Hector P. Gonzalez, Alice, for appellee.

Before RICKHOFF, GREEN and ANGELINI, JJ.

GREEN, Justice.

Relator, Safety-Kleen Corp. ("Safety-Kleen"), seeks a writ of mandamus to require the Respondent, The Honorable Ricardo H. Garcia, to set a hearing on Safety-Kleen's motion to compel answers to interrogatories, which was filed on January 20, 1997. 1 We conditionally grant the writ to compel Judge Garcia to act.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Safety-Kleen is one of 254 defendants originally sued by 72 plaintiffs for personal

Page 269

injuries allegedly caused by exposure to cement products. Safety-Kleen served the plaintiffs with its first set of interrogatories between November 14, 1996 and December 6, 1996. The plaintiffs filed a joint answer to the interrogatories on January 15, 1997. On or about January 20, 1997, Safety-Kleen filed a motion to compel contending the plaintiffs "refused to submit any of the information specifically requested by [certain] interrogatories." 2

On January 27, 1997, Safety-Kleen sent a letter to the court coordinator requesting that a hearing be set on its motion. On February 11, 1997, Safety-Kleen forwarded a second written demand to the court coordinator to set the motion for hearing. The letter notes that Safety-Kleen previously contacted the court several times regarding its request. Safety-Kleen has also included in our record an affidavit from its attorney stating that the court coordinator refused to set the motion for a hearing. The last time the court coordinator was contacted, she informed Safety-Kleen's attorney that "no motions [would] be set for hearing until October of 1997."

DISCUSSION

A trial court is required to consider and rule upon a motion within a reasonable time. Barnes v. State, 832 S.W.2d 424, 426 (Tex.App.--Houston [1st Dist.] 1992, orig. proceeding); see also Kissam v. Williamson, 545 S.W.2d 265, 266-67 (Tex.Civ.App.--Tyler 1976, orig. proceeding)(mandamus will issue where trial judge refuses to act within a reasonable time). "When a motion is properly filed and pending before a trial court, the act of giving consideration to and ruling upon that motion is a ministerial act," and mandamus may issue to compel the trial judge to act. O'Donniley v. Golden, 860 S.W.2d 267, 269-70...

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