In re Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Dallas Court of Appeals, No. 05-13-00134-CV (July 3, 2013)
Justices Moseley, Francis (Opinion), and Fillmore
In this mandamus proceeding the Court of Appeals reminded counsel of the obligation to apprise the Court when a material change of circumstances occurs. Earlier this year in Prabhakar v. Fritzgerald, the Court discussed a situation in which counsel did not promptly tell the Court about one party’s death. The Court observed that counsel owed a duty of candor to the Court to disclose such a material development. Here, the parties settled their case and filed a motion to dismiss with the trial court while the mandamus petition was pending. The trial court granted the motion, but neither party apprised the appeals court of the settlement or dismissal. Unaware of the settlement, the Court of Appeals issued a decision conditionally granting the writ—only to be told immediately thereafter (in the trial court’s order complying with the mandamus decision) that the underlying case had been dismissed. The appeals court withdrew its opinion and took the opportunity to explain, in an understandably exasperated tone, that lawyers owe the Court the same duties of candor and timely disclosure in original proceedings as in conventional appeals.