Dallas divorce lawyer Michelle May O’Neil presented a speech on pretrial appellate remedies entitled Mandamus and More. The continuing education conference for Texas divorce lawyers was titled Family Law on the Front Lines and it was held at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort June 18-19, 2009.
Ms. O’Neil discussed the standards for pursing mandamus appellate remedies when a trial court makes an error in the middle of a case, prior to trial, that requires review before a trial can be held. She, together with co-presenter Rick Flowers of McEvily and Flowers in Houston, discussed the seminal mandamus case of Walker v. Packer that set for the standards for seeking mandamus as requiring a 1) clear abuse of discretion by the trial court, and 2) lack of adequate remedy by appeal at the conclusion of the case. Further, she reviewed the impact of the 2004 Texas Supreme Court opinion in In re Prudential, which expanded the examination of the adequacy of appellate remedy by adding a balancing test of the detriments versus benefits of mandamus review. Lastly, Ms. O’Neil examined the 2008 Texas Supreme Court opinion in McAllen Medical Center, which clarified the Prudential balancing test to include an analysis of the expenditure of money, time and judicial resources if mandamus is not considered.