Ansa Assuncao LLP’s Maryland Team Secures Appellate Victory Before Texas Supreme Court

On March 13, 2020, Ansa Assuncao LLP’s Maryland office team, working in conjunction with their Texas colleagues, secured extraordinary relief from the Supreme Court of Texas on behalf of firm client Mobile Mini, Inc. in a construction worker’s personal injury suit that named Mobile Mini and other corporate defendants. In a per curiam opinion, the Supreme Court granted Mobile Mini’s Petition for Writ of Mandamus, agreeing that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied Mobile Mini’s request to designate a responsible third party where: (1) Mobile Mini’s request was timely filed 626 days before the initial trial setting and sat dormant and unopposed for nearly two years; (2) Mobile Mini disclosed the responsible third party in response to the worker’s discovery requests in the time required by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, albeit after the statute of limitations on the worker’s tort claims had expired; and (3) the worker never challenged the sufficiency of the factual allegations Mobile Mini made about the third party’s involvement or responsibility.

The Supreme Court agreed with Mobile Mini that it had no obligation to disclose potentially responsible third parties before its discovery responses were due simply because the worker waited until the last minute to file suit. The Court found, as Mobile Mini had argued, that placing the onus on a defendant to respond to discovery before the Rules of Civil Procedure obligate it to do so not only violates the responsible third party statute, but also unfairly prejudices defendants. The Court explained it simply: “Mobile Mini’s failure to disclose [the third party’s] identity before limitations expired was the natural consequence of [the worker’s] decision to wait to file suit until limitations were nearing terminus. Plaintiffs who wait until days before limitations expire to file suit do so at their own peril.”

A copy of the Court’s opinion can be found Here.

Jennifer Ann Wright is a Partner in our Maryland office.
Heather L. Williams is a Partner in our Maryland office.