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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Relator, Jose R. Rodriguez, the El Paso county attorney, seeks a writ of mandamus on behalf of the state of Texas, directing respondent to vacate an order denying the state’s motion to strike an intervention filed by Fernando Rodriguez d/b/a America III Bail Bonds (intervenor). Alternatively, relator would require respondent to hold a hearing and rule on certain dispositive motions. Carmen Calderon was arrested for fraudulent use or possession of identifying information. On Aug. 8, 2003, Calderon and Safety National Casualty Corp. posted an appearance bond in the amount of $10,000. A two-count indictment was returned against Calderon and the case was assigned to the 120th District Court (respondent). On Oct. 8, 2003, Calderon failed to appear for arraignment and the bond was forfeited. Respondent entered a judgment nisi which was filed in cause number 2003BF295. An answer was filed on behalf of both Calderon and Safety National, but Calderon has not been re-arrested and her criminal case remains pending. Jose Rodriguez, the El Paso county attorney, represents the state in all bond forfeitures pursuant to an agreement with the 34th District Attorney, Jaime Esparza. In the bond forfeiture case, Fernando Rodriguez d/b/a America III Bail Bonds filed the intervention suit against relator and Esparza in their official capacities in a pleading entitled Plaintiff’s Original Petition for Declaratory Judgment, Temporary Restraining Order, Injunction & Request for Disclosure. The petition alleges that relator is not authorized to prosecute bond forfeiture cases. Intervenor sought to prohibit the county attorney from prosecuting bond forfeitures and the district attorney from referring these cases to the county attorney. Safety National and intervenor also filed a Rule 12 motion to show authority and included their argument about the county attorney’s lack of authority as an affirmative defense to the bond forfeiture. The state, represented by the county attorney, filed a motion to quash the bondsman’s pleadings and to strike the intervention, because substantive civil relief may not be granted in a bond forfeiture proceeding. The motion to strike also asserted that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because intervenor lacked standing to intervene in the bond forfeiture. Finally, the motion included a plea to the jurisdiction based on relator’s governmental immunity. Respondent initially granted the state’s motion and struck all pleadings filed by Fernando Rodriguez d/b/a America III Bail Bonds, but the court subsequently reconsidered that ruling and denied the motion to strike. Respondent also entered an order determining that the county attorney was not authorized to represent the state in bond forfeiture proceedings. That order and the order denying the motion to quash were the subject of a previous mandamus proceeding. While that mandamus proceeding was pending, Safety National (purportedly d/b/a America III Bail Bonds) sought mandamus relief in the Court of Criminal Appeals on June 1, 2005. The Court of Criminal Appeals denied the motion for leave to file on June 22, 2005. The following day, this court conditionally granted mandamus relief and ordered respondent to vacate his order prohibiting the county attorney from prosecuting bond forfeitures. The court did not, however, specifically address relator’s complaint regarding the intervention because the opinion effectively resolved the merits of the issues raised in the intervention. Respondent complied with the order on Aug. 1, 2005. The Court of Criminal Appeals, on Sept. 28, 2005, denied Safety National leave to file another application for writ of mandamus seeking to challenge the opinion and judgment. On Oct. 21, 2005, the relator and Esparza filed a motion to require America III Bail Bonds to dismiss them from the suit and name the appropriate governmental unit as a defendant pursuant to �101.106(f) of the Civil Practice & Remedies Code. If America III Bail Bonds failed to amend the suit within 30 days, relator and Esparza sought dismissal of the suit. Relator also filed a motion for summary judgment on the bond forfeiture. Over the next four months, the bond forfeiture was set for final hearing several times but it was never heard. On April 6, 2006, relator filed this petition seeking mandamus relief based on respondent’s denial of relator’s motion to strike the intervention and his refusal to hear or rule on other dispositive motions, including relator’s motion for summary judgment. Since the filing of the mandamus petition, respondent granted intervenor’s motion to sever the bond forfeiture from the intervention. Respondent set the bond forfeiture and the severed civil suit for hearing on May 18, 2006, but did not hear them because notice of the hearing had only been provided under the bond forfeiture cause number. The court re-set the cases for final hearing on May 31, 2006. At the subsequent hearing, respondent denied the state’s motion for summary judgment filed in the bond forfeiture action, but he did not rule on the motion to dismiss pending in the severed action. HOLDING:Denied. While a court has some discretion in the manner in which it rules on motions, the court commits a clear abuse of discretion when it refuses to rule on pending motions. However, if a reasonable time has not yet passed, the trial court’s failure to rule may not be a clear abuse of discretion. The court is unable to conclude that a clear abuse of discretion is shown by respondent’s failure to rule before going on vacation. Relator seeks mandamus relief because respondent denied the state’s motion to strike the intervention. Relator based its motion on intervenor’s lack of standing and it argued that a party could not be granted substantive civil relief in a bond forfeiture. Relator also asserted governmental immunity as a defense. Finally, relator sought to have the intervention struck for good cause because it would provide a means for the bondsman to delay hearing on the merits of the bond forfeiture. Because relator attempted to have the issue reviewed in the context of the first mandamus, the court concludes that laches does not preclude review here. Relator’s complaint regarding intervenor’s standing to intervene in the bond forfeiture has been rendered moot by the severance order because intervenor is no longer an improper party to the bond forfeiture. Any other issues related to Fernando Rodriguez’s standing to maintain his civil suit against relator and Esparza must be addressed in the context of that separate suit. Relator’s assertions of governmental immunity must also be addressed in the context of the separate civil action. Finally, the third complaint is related to the potential negative impact or effect of the intervention on the bond forfeiture. The intervention has obviously delayed the resolution of the bond forfeiture but it should no longer have this effect since it has been severed into a separate suit. Relator contends that intervenor lacks standing to prosecute the civil suit because intervenor has not been injured and cannot show a justiciable interest. In the absence of standing, relator reasons that Respondent lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Relator did not raise this specific standing argument in the motion to strike the intervention. Given that the intervention has now been severed, this issue could be raised in a plea to the jurisdiction and relator would have a right to an accelerated interlocutory appeal of an adverse ruling. The court concludes this is an adequate legal remedy. OPINION:Barajas, J.; Barajas, C.J., McClure and Chew, J.J.

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