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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On May 28, 2004, Robin Fuentes, her husband, and her two children were involved in a car accident. Fuentes suffered serious injuries that rendered her a quadriplegic. Less than three months later, the Fuentes family sued Ford Motor Company, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, and the tire repair shop that installed tires on their pick-up truck for damages arising from an alleged tire failure that caused the truck to roll over. The case was set for trial to commence on May 16, 2005, less than nine months after it was filed. On April 1, 2005, Ford filed a motion for legislative continuance under 30.003 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. On April 21, 2005, the trial court held a hearing on the motion. Four days later, the trial court denied the motion and set the case for trial on May 31, 2005. The court of appeals denied Ford’s petition for writ of mandamus, and on May 13, 2005, Ford filed its petition with this court. HOLDING:Conditionally granted. Ford’s motion for a legislative continuance meets the requirements of the statute. Representative Jim Solis’s affidavit states that he is a member of the Texas House of Representatives, that the session extends from January 11, 2005 through May 31, 2005, and that he will be attending the legislative session. See Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code 30.003(d), (e). Solis also stated that he represents Ford and intends to participate actively in the preparation and presentation of the case. See id. Finally, the affidavit also declares that Solis did not take this case for the purpose of obtaining a continuance under 30.003 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code. See id. Because Ford’s motion was filed more than 30 days before the scheduled trial date and met the statutory requirements, the trial court was without discretion to deny the motion unless Fuentes established her entitlement to an exception. In Waites v. Sondock, 561 S.W.2d 772 (Tex. 1977), this court recognized a constitutional limitation on the mandatory nature of the legislative continuance. This court held that requiring mandatory continuances when the party opposing the continuance “faces irreparable harm from the delay in enforcing existing rights” violates the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, 13 (open courts) and 19 (due process) of the Texas Constitution. However, the court emphasized the limited nature of its HOLDING:“a legislative continuance is mandatory except in those cases in which the party opposing the continuance alleges that a substantial existing right will be defeated or abridged by delay.” When a party opposes a legislative continuance in such circumstances, the trial court must conduct a hearing on the allegations and deny the motion if the allegations are shown to be meritorious. Fuentes claims that the Waites exception applies because she has a right to “access to medical and rehabilitative services to aid in the treatment for, and rehabilitation from, her injuries.” But she does not have a right to have Ford pay for those services unless or until mandate to that effect issues after trial, judgment, and possible appeals. Relief from a mandatory legislative continuance requires a higher showing than the record in this case makes. She has no substantial existing right to access to medical care that is enforceable against Ford. Her claims against Ford arise from alleged defects of a pick-up truck, not for improperly denying her access to medical care. If she succeeds in obtaining a favorable final judgment against Ford, then she will have an existing right that could be subject to the Waites exception. Until then, she has a right to access the court system to pursue her claims against Ford. Continuing this case, which has been pending only a few months, in accordance with the Legislature’s “determination that the interests of the people of the State will be best served by the attendance of legislator-attorneys at legislative sessions” does not violate the due process clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution or Article I, 13 and 19 of the Texas Constitution. Waites v. Sondock, 561 S.W.2d 772 (Tex. 1977). Because the constitutional exception in Waites does not apply, the trial court had no discretion to deny the motion for continuance. To give full effect to the Legislature’s policy decision regarding legislative continuances, the court concludes that a party has no adequate remedy by appeal when a trial court abuses its discretion by denying a motion for legislative continuance. OPINION:Per curiam.

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