In re San Jacinto County, 416 S.W.3d 639 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2013, no pet.).


Estate Administration



An estate administration was ongoing in Harris County, the county in which the testator was domiciled at the time of his death.  An issue arose regarding the proper venue for a declaratory judgment action that would impact property the testator devised to San Jacinto County.  The independent executor argued that venue was proper in Harris County where the estate was being administered and San Jacinto County asserted that venue was proper in San Jacinto County because of Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 15.015 which states that an action against a county must be brought in that county.  The probate court determined that venue was proper in Harris County causing San Jacinto County to seek a writ of mandamus.


The appellate court conditionally granted the writ.  The court explained that § 15.015 is a mandatory venue statute with no exceptions.  “Therefore, when a county is sued, venue is mandatory in that country irrespective of any other venue statutes, whether mandatory or permissive.”  Id. at 642.


Moral:  If a probate action potentially could result in a judgment against a county, proper venue for that action is in that county.