On Monday, September 25, 2023, the First Court of Appeals in Houston, Texas issued a Writ of Mandamus ordering Judge Ursula A. Hall of the 165th District Court of Harris County to rule on several pending motions in an ongoing case.
The case, In Re Hunter-Kelsey II, LLC, was originally filed in 2019. Hunter-Kelsey II, LLC filed a motion for summary judgment on April 15, 2020, which was later supplemented on July 22, 2021, and July 13, 2022. They also filed a motion to dismiss on July 9, 2021.
After Judge Hall failed to rule on these motions, Hunter-Kelsey II, LLC filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the appeals court on May 9, 2023. The appeals court conditionally granted the petition, giving Judge Hall 30 days to comply before a writ would be issued.
When she still did not rule after that deadline passed, the appeals court sent a second notice on September 5, 2023, stating she had 10 more days before the writ would be issued. Judge Hall again did not comply within the timeframe.
As a result, on September 25, 2023, the First Court of Appeals issued the Writ of Mandamus ordering Judge Hall to rule on the pending motions no later than October 2, 2023. The writ stated that failure to comply could result in contempt proceedings against the judge.
This legal drama demonstrates the power of appellate courts to compel lower court judges to move stalled cases forward. The First Court of Appeals clearly lost patience with Judge Hall’s inaction and is demanding she issue rulings to keep this case progressing.
Ursula Hall is a judge of the Texas 165th District Court, representing the Democratic Party. She won re-election in the general election held on November 3, 2020, and currently serves on the bench until December 31, 2024. Hall holds an undergraduate degree from Wellesley College and a J.D. from the South Texas College of Law. She presides over cases at the Harris County Civil Courthouse located at 201 Caroline, 12th Floor, Houston, Texas 77002, and can be reached at (832) 927-2365.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.