Jul 5, 2014
Does a trial court abuse its discretion if it continues a special appearance hearing even though the plaintiff has not followed the requirements of Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 120a?
Yes. If a plaintiff, prior to a hearing on a special appearance, does not file affidavits proving he needs a continuance to obtain essential discovery, the trial court abuses its discretion if it continues the special appearance hearing to allow discovery. See IRN Realty Corp. v. Hernandez, 300 S.W.3d 900, 903 (Tex. App – Eastland 2009, no pet.)(holding trial court abused its discretion by granting motion to compel and abating special appearance hearing to allow plaintiff to conduct additional discovery because plaintiff did not follow procedures for continuance under Rule 120a(3)); see also Washington DC Party Shuttle, LLC v. IGuide Tours, 406 S.W.3d 723, 739 (Tex. App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 2013, pet. filed)(holding plaintiff did not follow procedures under Rule 120a(3) for discovery continuance). “Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 120a governs special appearances,” and “Rule 120a ‘specifically provides for the means to obtain a continuance of the special appearance so that . . . [additional discovery] may be conducted: affidavits of the party opposing the special appearance.’” In re Stern, 321 S.W.3d 828, 836-839 (Tex. App. – Houston [1st Dist.] 2010, orig. proceeding)(quoting IRN Realty Corp. v. Hernandez, 300 S.W.3d 900, 903 (Tex. App – Eastland 2009, no pet.)); see also Said v. Maria Invs., Inc., No. 01-08-00962-CV, 2010 Tex. App. LEXIS 959, 2010 WL 457463, at *3 (Tex. App.--Houston [1st Dist.] Feb. 11, 2010, pet. denied) (mem. op.) ("Rule 120a(3) gives the trial court the discretion to continue a special appearance hearing and thereby extend the time in which evidence may be served, but this power applies only to a party opposing the special appearance who avers that he cannot adequately prepare for the special appearance hearing.")(emphasis added); see also Parex Resources, Inc. v. ERG Resources, LLC, 2014 Tex. App. Lexis 880, *66 fn. 34 (Tex. App. – Houston [14th Dist.] Jan. 28, 2014).