Hall v. Lawlis

Citation38 Tex.Sup.Ct.J. 882,907 S.W.2d 493
Decision Date15 June 1995
Docket NumberNo. 95-0507,95-0507
Parties38 Tex. Sup. Ct. J. 882 Robert J. HALL, Individually and Sibon Beverage Corporation, Relators, v. The Honorable Monte D. LAWLIS, Judge, Respondent.
CourtSupreme Court of Texas

B. Thomas McElroy, Johnson & McElroy, Dallas, Catherine Bukowski Smith, James W. McCartney, Vinson & Elkins, Houston, for relators.

Jack Dies, Lufkin, and Joe Tonahill, Tonahill Hile Leister & Jacobellis, Jasper, for respondent.

PER CURIAM.

Robert Hall and SiBon Beverage Corporation (SiBon) seek mandamus relief from two actions of the trial court: (1) refusing to abate this lawsuit despite the pendency of an earlier filed suit in Harris County, and (2) ordering Hall to produce his personal income tax returns for the past five years. While Hall is not entitled to mandamus relief from the refusal to abate, a majority of the Court concludes that mandamus relief is appropriate from the order to produce the tax returns.

Robert Hall and Albert and Mary Jo Nault agreed to start a beverage company together. Hall was to provide funds and land for a bottling plant. The Naults were to provide expertise and secret formulas and trademarks. Hall and SiBon eventually sued the Naults in Harris County for fraud, misrepresentation, and conversion. Several weeks later, the Naults filed this lawsuit in Jasper County, alleging wrongful termination, conspiracy, defamation, and malicious prosecution. The Naults' motion in Harris County to have that suit transferred to Jasper County was overruled; Hall's motion in Jasper County to abate or dismiss based on Harris County having acquired dominant jurisdiction was also overruled. At the same hearing at which it overruled Hall's motion to abate, the Jasper County court granted the Naults' motion to compel Hall to produce his personal income tax returns for the past five years. The court did not inspect the documents before doing so. Hall seeks relief from both of these actions of the trial court.

In Abor v. Black, 695 S.W.2d 564, 567 (Tex.1985), this Court decided that it would not review by mandamus the refusal of a trial court to abate an action based on the pendency of another action unless the courts were directly interfering with each other by issuing conflicting orders or injunctions. See also Morris v. Leggat, 877 S.W.2d 899, 901 (Tex.App.--Texarkana 1994, orig. proceeding). In the absence of such interference, the refusal to abate can be adequately reviewed on appeal. See Hooks v. Fourth Court of Appeals, 808 S.W.2d 56, 59 (Tex.1991). Because the Harris County and Jasper County courts are not directly interfering with each other, Hall and SiBon are not entitled to mandamus on this point.

Hall is entitled to mandamus relief from the order compelling him to produce his tax returns. Income tax returns are discoverable to the extent they are relevant and material to the issues presented in the lawsuit. Maresca v. Marks, 362 S.W.2d 299, 300-01 (Tex.1962); Crane v. Tunks, 160 Tex. 182, 328 S.W.2d 434, 440 (1959), disapproved in part on other grounds by Walker v. Packer,...

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60 cases
  • Tilton v. Marshall
    • United States
    • Texas Supreme Court
    • July 12, 1996
    ...of relevancy and materiality to the matters in controversy. Maresca v. Marks, 362 S.W.2d at 301. Most recently, in Hall v. Lawlis, 907 S.W.2d 493 (Tex.1995), we granted mandamus relief from a trial court's order compelling the production of tax returns where no showing of relevancy had been......
  • Perry v. Del Rio
    • United States
    • Texas Supreme Court
    • September 12, 2001
    ...action, "unless the courts were directly interfering with each other by issuing conflicting orders or injunctions." Hall v. Lawlis, 907 S.W.2d 493, 494 (Tex.1995) (relying on Abor, 695 S.W.2d at 567). The interference may not be incidental, but must rise to the level that it interferes with......
  • In re Williams
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • September 23, 2010
    ...and materiality to the matters in controversy.Maresca v. Marks, 362 S.W.2d 299, 301 (Tex.1962) (orig.proceeding); see Hall v. Lawlis, 907 S.W.2d 493, 494 (Tex.1995) (orig.proceeding) (per curiam) (concluding that income tax returns are discoverable to the extent that they are relevant and m......
  • Konle v. Page
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Court of Appeals
    • October 2, 1996
    ...malpractice case); Ashton v. Cherne Contracting Corp., 102 Md.App. 87, 648 A.2d 1067 (1994) (worker's compensation case); Hall v. Lawlis, 907 S.W.2d 493 (Tex.1995) (wrongful termination suit); Maresca v. Marks, 362 S.W.2d 299 (Tex.1962) (suit seeking profits during a period of employment); ......
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6 books & journal articles
  • Discovery
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Archive Texas Employment Law. Volume 2 - 2014 Part VIII. Selected litigation issues
    • August 16, 2014
    ...cumulative). Tax returns may also be protected on the basis that they are not necessarily indicative of net worth. See Hall v. Lawlis , 907 S.W.2d 493, 495 (Tex. 1995) (citing Chamberlain v. Cherry , 818 S.W.2d 201, 205-06 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 1991, orig. proceeding)). In re Garth , 214 S.W.......
  • Discovery
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Archive Texas Employment Law. Volume 2 - 2016 Part VIII. Selected Litigation Issues
    • July 27, 2016
    ...cumulative). Tax returns may also be protected on the basis that they are not necessarily indicative of net worth. See Hall v. Lawlis , 907 S.W.2d 493, 495 (Tex. 1995) (citing Chamberlain v. Cherry , 818 S.W.2d 201, 205-06 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 1991, orig. proceeding)). In re Garth , 214 S.W.......
  • Discovery
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Texas Employment Law. Volume 1 Part VIII. Selected litigation issues
    • May 5, 2018
    ...cumulative). Tax returns may also be protected on the basis that they are not necessarily indicative of net worth. See Hall v. Lawlis , 907 S.W.2d 493, 495 (Tex. 1995) (citing Chamberlain v. Cherry , 818 S.W.2d 201, 205-06 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 1991, orig. proceeding)). In re Garth , 214 S.W.......
  • Discovery
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Archive Texas Employment Law. Volume 2 - 2017 Part VIII. Selected litigation issues
    • August 19, 2017
    ...be protected on §40:10 Tൾඑൺඌ Eආඉඅඈඒආൾඇඍ Lൺඐ 40-78 the basis that they are not necessarily indicative of net worth. See Hall v. Lawlis , 907 S.W.2d 493, 495 (Tex. 1995) (citing Chamberlain v. Cherry , 818 S.W.2d 201, 205-06 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 1991, orig. proceeding)). In re Garth , 214 S.W.......
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