“PO” BOX DOES NOT STAND FOR “PRINCIPAL OFFICE”

Ken-Do Contracting, LP v. FA Brown’s Construction, LLC
Dallas Court of Appeals, No. 05-17-00373-CV (August 7, 2017)
Justices Francis, Brown (Opinion, linked here), and Schenck
Because venue was improper in Dallas County, Defendant Ken-Do may get a do-over on the jury trial that resulted in a judgment against it. In response to Ken-Do’s motion to transfer venue in the trial court, Plaintiff Brown argued venue was proper in Dallas County pursuant to CPRC § 15.002(a)(3) because Ken-Do’s principal office in the state is in Dallas County. Brown relied on the fact that Ken-Do maintains a post office box in Dallas. But the Dallas Court of Appeals held that a post office box does not meet the definition of principal office—the office “in which the decision makers for the organization within this state conduct the daily affairs of the organization.” The Court said, “a post office box is not a business office; it is a receptacle in a postal facility and it is under the control of the United States Postal Service.” Moreover, the company’s decision makers are not managing the company’s business from inside the box. But the Court also disagreed with Ken-Do’s assertion that its principal office was in Ellis County based only on the fact that its registered agent is there. Because neither party proved proper venue, the Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings on the issue.

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