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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Ten silicosis cases involving hundreds of plaintiffs were filed in Cameron County and randomly assigned to six different courts. Three judges issued conflicting orders asserting jurisdiction over cases in their own courts or others. HOLDING:The court directs the 138th and 404th District courts to vacate their orders of Jan. 13, 2004, so that the 197th District Court may conduct further proceedings. The court disagrees with the argument that Texas Government Code 74.092(1) gives local administrative judges authority to review and reverse conflicting rulings of coordinate courts like those issued here. While the local administrative judge may transfer cases pursuant to local rules, enforcing or overruling competing orders is the duty of a higher court. In this case, the Cameron County rules allow transfer of related cases to the court in which filing was first made without the consent of any other judge. The local rules permit the first-filed case to be transferred to a court with a later-filed case, but only with the first judge’s consent. Under these rules, only the 197th court could transfer cases unilaterally. The court determines that mandamus is appropriate here. The relators also challenge certain interim orders signed by the 404th and 138th District Courts that set trial dates, ordered mediation, and set aside a number of default judgments. Relators argue that any orders signed after the consolidation in the 197th District Court are void. Given the broad powers district courts have to act for one another, the court does not agree that these orders were entered without jurisdiction. OPINION:Per curiam.

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