Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mandamus in Disbarment Suit Denied

Court of Appeals says disbarred attorney has adequate remedy by appeal.

In Re George R. Neely
No. 14-08-00525-CV (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] June 26, 2008) (per curiam) (attorney discipline, mandamus denied in attorney disbarment case)
Panel: Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Fowler and Boyce
Full case style: In Re George R. Neely
Appeal from 164th District Court of Harris County
Judge: Jack H. Robison, assigned judge
Disposition: Petition for Mandamus denied


Neely has asked us to issue a writ of mandamus vacating the disbarment order against him. He has also filed a motion for emergency relief, asking that we issue mandamus on an emergency basis because he is lead counsel in a case scheduled to begin trial on June 30.

We conclude that relator has an adequate appellate remedy, and therefore deny his mandamus petition.

Mandamus will not issue where there is an adequate remedy by appeal. Walker v. Packer, 827 S.W.2d 833, 842 (Tex. 1992) (orig. proceeding). An appellate remedy is not inadequate merely because it may involve more delay than obtaining an extraordinary writ. Id. Instead, an appellate remedy may be inadequate where a party stands to permanently lose substantial rights. See Perry v. Del Rio, 66 S.W.3d 239, 257 (Tex. 2001) (orig. proceeding). We remain mindful that the benefits of mandamus review are easily lost by overuse. In re Prudential Ins. Co. of America, 148 S.W.3d 124, 138 (Tex. 2004) (orig. proceeding).Neely has not demonstrated that he is in danger of permanently losing substantial rights. See Perry, 66 S.W.3d at 257.

Neely has an adequate remedy at law to appeal the trial court's final judgment of disbarment. See, e.g., Risker v. Comm'n for Lawyer Discipline, 94 S.W.3d 625, 627 (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.] 2002, pet. denied); Skelton v. Comm'n for Lawyer Discipline, 56 S.W.3d 687, 689 (Tex. App.- Houston [14th Dist.] 2001, no pet.). Mandamus relief is therefore unavailable. Walker, 827 S.W.2d at 842; see also In re Worldpeace, No. 14-04-00726-CV, 2004 WL 1797685, at *1 (Tex. App.- Houston [14th Dist.] 2004, orig. proceeding) (mem. op.).

Accordingly, we deny the petition for writ of mandamus, and further deny as moot relator's emergency motion to consider mandamus on an emergency basis.

Link to other June 2008 Decisions from the Fourteenth Court of Appeals

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