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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:April Nicole Brown Davis, the plaintiff, and Glenn Martin Greenwell, a police officer on duty with the city of Texarkana Police Department, had an accident on the Texas side of State Line Avenue. (Throughout, “Texarkana” refers to Texsarkana, Ark.) Davis sued the city of Texarkana and Greenwell alleging that the negligent conduct of Greenwell caused the collision. The city filed a motion for partial summary judgment alleging that Arkansas sovereign immunity should be applied through the doctrine of comity. According to the city, Arkansas law waives sovereign immunity only for the amount covered by liability insurance. See Ark. Code Ann. 21-9-301 (LEXIS through 2004 legislation). Judge Leon Pesek Jr. of the 202nd Judicial District in Texas refused to rule on the motion, stating that the Arkansas law was a “limitation of damages under sovereign immunity” and that he saw no reason to rule on the motion until after trial. The city of Texarkana filed a petition for writ of mandamus requesting that this court order the Judge Pesek to rule on its motion for partial summary judgment. HOLDING:Conditionally granted. Once a ruling has been requested on a motion pending before a trial court, the trial court is required to consider and rule on a motion within a reasonable time. While a trial court has some discretion in the manner in which it rules on motions, the trial court commits a clear abuse of discretion when it refuses to rule on pending motions. “When a motion is properly filed and pending before a trial court, considering and ruling on the motion is a ministerial act, and mandamus may issue to compel the trial court to act.” In Re: Kleven, 100 S.W.3d 643 (Tex. App. Texarkana 2003, orig. proceeding). However, if a reasonable time has not yet passed, the trial court’s failure to rule may not be a clear abuse of discretion. In Re: Mission Consolidated Independent School District, 990 S.W.2d 459 (Tex. App. – Corpus Christi 1999, orig. proceeding). The trial court abused its discretion by refusing to rule on the motion for partial summary judgment before trial. The motion for partial summary judgment was filed Sept. 9, 2004. A hearing concerning the motion was held and the trial court issued a letter Oct. 13, 2004, indicating it would not rule on the motion before trial. The city filed a motion requesting a ruling before trial on Nov. 9, 2004. The motion for partial summary judgment has been pending for over six months. Further, the court recognizes that the city has an argument that it may be entitled to an interlocutory appeal if the motion is denied. The court has jurisdiction to direct the trial court to exercise its discretion in some manner but may not tell the trial court what that decision should be. The city is entitled to have a ruling on its motion for partial summary judgment before trial, the court concludes. OPINION:Carter, J.; Morriss, C.J., Ross and Carter, JJ.

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