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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS: The Legislature amended the venue statutes in 1995 to allow a trial court to transfer venue “[f]or the convenience of the parties and witnesses and in the interest of justice.” At the same time, the Legislature mandated that a trial court’s order granting or denying such a transfer for convenience is “not grounds for appeal or mandamus and is not reversible error.” In this case, a defendant filed a motion asserting both improper venue and inconvenience, which the trial court granted without specifying the grounds. HOLDING: Because the court of appeals should have affirmed the trial court’s transfer order on convenience grounds, the court reverses the court of appeals’ judgment. Because Garcia failed to present her factual sufficiency point to the trial court (by failing to ever pay the filing fee), she has failed to preserve her remaining point, and the court renders judgment reinstating the trial court’s judgment. The court construes the Rules of Appellate Procedure liberally, so that decisions turn on substance rather than procedural technicality; nothing in those rules requires a fee to accompany a motion for new trial, or that such a fee be paid at all. Moreover, once a motion for new trial is conditionally filed and timetables extended, all litigants benefit from knowing what timetables apply even if they do not know whether the requisite fee was paid. The alternative would breed uncertainty, as the deadlines might automatically jump forward when the fee is quietly paid or revert backwards if it is not. This is not to say filing fees are irrelevant. The court has held that “absent emergency or other rare circumstances” a motion for new trial should not be considered until the filing fee is paid. Here, Garcia’s factual sufficiency complaint had to be presented to the trial judge, but because she never paid the $15 fee, the trial court was not required to review it. Thus, because no new trial fee was ever paid, the court of appeals correctly never addressed Garcia’s factual sufficiency complaint, but correctly considered her venue complaint. The court of appeals refused to imply a finding on convenience grounds because the statutory prohibition on appellate review precluded reviewing the record for evidence that might support such an implied finding. But the statute precludes review not just of the evidence, but of the order itself. As a result, it is irrelevant whether a transfer for convenience is supported by any record evidence. Hypothetically, a trial judge could state there was no evidence for a convenience transfer, but grant it nonetheless, and (except for perhaps reporting it to the Judicial Conduct Commission) there is very little this court could do about it. The court acknowledges the court of appeals’ concern that the usual presumption in favor of nonspecific orders will make many venue orders “immune from review.” But in transfer orders based on convenience, that appears to have been precisely the Legislature’s intent. And even under the court of appeals’ bright-line test, trial judges who are so inclined may make any venue order immune from review simply by adding “granted on convenience grounds.” The court does not believe the potential for error or injustice here justifies making an exception to the general rule that trial judges and lawyers need not detail specific findings in every order. When a defendant files a motion based on both convenience and another venue ground, a trial judge may grant the motion on the former ground and this court cannot review it. Or the judge may deny both, in which case the court may review only the latter. The court of appeals was concerned a trial judge might intend to deny a motion based on convenience while granting (erroneously) the motion on an alternative ground. But most venue provisions are based on notions of convenience. As the county where the parties reside or the events occurred will often be the most convenient, the court declines to change the usual presumption rules to presume the opposite. The court does not believe the movant’s convenience motion must be more specific than the one here, at least when it is part of a motion asserting other venue grounds and there is no special exception. OPINION: Brister, J.; Hecht, Owen, O’Neill, Schneider and Smith, JJ., joins. Phillips, C.J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Wainwright, J. joins as to parts I and II. Wainwright, J., filed a dissenting opinion. Jefferson, J., did not participate in the decision.

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