In re Robinson, 358 S.W.3d 351 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2011, no pet.).


Estate Administration



The trial court granted Daughter One’s application for a determination of heirship.  No one appealed the judgment or sought a new trial.  Later, Daughter Two filed an application to probate a will as a muniment of title under the same cause number as the heirship proceeding.  Daughter One then contested the will and asserted that the heirship determination was res judicata.  Daughter One’s response was to file a plea to the jurisdiction asserting that the court lost plenary power after it determined heirship.  The trial court reject the plea.  Daughter One then sought mandamus.


The appellate court denied Daughter One’s request.  The court explained that Daughter Two made a claim for affirmative relief when she filed her application to probate their mother’s will as a muniment of title.  The court explained that the application for probate was an independent lawsuit even though Daughter Two filed it under the same cause number.  Accordingly, mandamus was not proper because the trial court did not abuse its discretion in exercising jurisdiction over the muniment of title action.


Moral:  Although several petitions may be filed in the same cause number, they may nonetheless be considered independent lawsuits.