Here a situation that is not seen very often, but it does occur. This 2018, case is from the Tyler Court of Appeals and is styled, In Re: Metropolitan Property And Casualty Insurance Company, et al.
This is a mandamus action wherein Metropolitan is appealing the trial court’s decision of denying Metropolitan’s Motion to Transfer Venue.
In 2013, Patti Wan was involved in an automobile collision with Fidel Campos’s minor son, an uninsured motorist. Wan was covered by an insurance policy issued
by Metropolitan that included uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Metropolitan paid Wan’s property damage and bodily injury claims, less her $250 deductible on the property claim. Metropolitan obtained partial subrogation from Campos and entered into a repayment agreement with him. Metropolitan reimbursed Wan’s
deductible in April 2017.
Wan later sued Campos for personal injuries.
Subsequent to the collision, Wan sued Campos for personal injuries allegedly sustained in the collision. In October 2017, she amended her petition to include
allegations against Metropolitan for breach of contract, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, civil conspiracy, and declaratory judgment. She alleged that Metropolitan failed to timely reimburse her deductible, and she sought certification of a class. Metropolitan moved to transfer venue to Dallas County and sever the claims against it from the claims against Campos.
Venue determinations are not generally reviewable by mandamus. A party seeking to enforce a mandatory venue provision is not required to prove the lack of an adequate appellate remedy, but is required only to show that the trial court abused its discretion. Review of permissive venue determinations is appropriate only in extraordinary circumstances.
Metropolitan alleges that venue in Rusk County is improper because its principal place of business is in Dallas County. Metropolitan apparently relies on Section 15.032 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code
, which states that a suit against an insurance company may be brought in the county in which the company’s principal office is located, the county in which the loss occurred, or the county in which the policyholder resided at the time the cause of action accrued. This statute is expressly identified as a permissive venue statute, thus, Metropolitan is relying upon permissive venue, not mandatory venue. As a result, mandamus is not appropriate for this case.
The record demonstrates that Wan brought forth sufficient venue facts to support venue in Rusk County. Under the Texas Insurance Code, Section 1952.110
, an action against an insurer in relation to UM coverage must be brought in the county in which the accident occurred or the policyholder resided at the time of the accident involving the UM vehicle. This is a mandatory venue provision. As a result, Wan’s lawsuit against Metropolitan necessarily relates to her UM coverage and venue is mandatory in Rusk County.