Texas Court Grants Partial Mandamus Relief to Foreign Company in Case in Which Defective Tire Allegedly Caused Accident Resulting in Quadriplegia – In re Federal Corporation

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Most motor vehicle accidents are caused by negligence. This negligence may be on the part of an individual, a business, a governmental entity, or a combination thereof.

If a defect in an automobile contributed to the crash, the injured person may seek relief in the form of a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the vehicle or the faulty component part.

Such cases tend to be very complex, procedurally speaking, especially when the vehicle or a part thereof was manufactured by a company outside the United States.

Proceedings in the Trial Court

In the case of In re Federal Corporation, a man who was rendered a quadriplegic in a vehicle rollover accident filed a lawsuit against several defendants, alleging both negligence and strict product liability. According to the man’s complaint in the 32nd District Court of Hidalgo County, the rollover accident happened because the tread on one of his tires separated unexpectedly.

One of the defendants was a corporation based in Taiwan. That corporation made a special appearance, asserting that the trial court lacked personal jurisdiction over it. In response, the injured man filed discovery requests asking for information about the corporation’s activities in Texas and elsewhere in the United States, as well as information pertinent to the man’s claim for damages.

After the corporation refused to answer some of the man’s discovery requests, he filed a motion to compel the corporation to fully respond to discovery. The trial court granted the motion but limited the geographic scope of certain discovery requests to Texas and Mississippi.

Petition for Writ of Mandamus from the Court of Appeals

The corporation then filed an original proceeding in the Texas Court of Appeals, seeking a writ of mandamus compelling the trial court to withdraw its order directing the company to fully respond to the man’s discovery requests.

The Court’s Decision

The court conditionally granted the petition in part, finding that the corporation was entitled to partial mandamus relief because the trial court had ordered it to respond to discovery requests that were overly broad. In particular, the court found that discovery relevant to the merits of the case was not permitted because it was not relevant to the corporation’s special appearance in the case.

The court also disagreed with the injured man’s argument that he was entitled to know whether the corporation had a procedure for processing warrant claims in Texas because that information was relevant to determining whether the corporation was a nonresident seller that intended to serve the Texas market. Instead, the court found that some of the information sought by the injured man was along the lines of an “impermissible fishing expedition,” prohibited by the Supreme Court of Texas.

Talk About Your Case with an Experienced East Texas Injury Lawyer

A hardworking and seasoned car accident and product liability attorney at the law office of Earl Drott, P.C., can help if you have been hurt or lost a loved one in an automobile accident. Call us at (903) 531-9300 to set up your free case consultation. We are currently reviewing injury cases throughout Smith County and elsewhere in east Texas.

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