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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On December 12, 2004, Lisa Denise Santos gave birth to I.E.T. Although Santos was married to another man, she had been living with Michelle Moore’s son. Santos and I.E.T. initially moved in with Moore. Ten days after I.E.T.’s birth, Moore filed a suit affecting the parent-child relationship (SAPCR No. 1), in the 94th District Court of Nueces County, claiming to be I.E.T.’s paternal grandmother. The trial court issued a temporary restraining order preventing Santos from removing I.E.T. from Moore’s possession and on Jan. 18, 2005, granted temporary custody of I.E.T. to Moore. Approximately two and a half months after her birth, I.E.T. was diagnosed with a disorder that required her to be fed through a nasogastric tube and necessitated a complex medical regime, which Moore was trained to administer. On May 26, 2005, Santos filed a petition for writ of mandamus in the 13th Court of Appeals, alleging that Moore lacked standing to bring SAPCR No. 1. On June 16, 2005, the 13th Court granted the writ, holding that Moore lacked standing, because she was not listed in the Texas Family Code as a party who could initiate a SAPCR. The court ordered the district court to dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction. In its memorandum opinion, the court denied Santos’ request to order a hearing in the trial court on Santos’ motion for attorneys’ fees and sanctions, holding that Moore was entitled to a presumption of good faith and that there was no evidence of bad faith or harassment. Despite the ruling, Moore refused to give up possession of I.E.T. The next day, Santos filed suit requesting that the 214th District Court of Nueces County grant a writ of habeas corpus for possession of I.E.T. Three days later, Moore filed suit in the 319th District Court (SAPCR No. 2), alleging standing under the Texas Family Code as a person in possession of the child for at least six months, a different basis than in SAPCR No. 1. In Santos’ suit, the trial court denied Santos habeas corpus relief and issued an interim order transferring the proceedings to the 319th District Court, while in SAPCR No. 1, the trial court issued a temporary restraining order preventing Santos from removing I.E.T. from Moore’s possession. On July 8, 2005, Santos again filed a petition for writ of mandamus in the 13th Court of Appeals, this time with regard to the orders issued in SAPCR No. 2. A little more than a month later, Santos filed another petition for writ of mandamus in the 13th Court challenging the orders issued in Santos’ suit. On Aug. 29, 2005, the 13th Court granted both writs and ordered both trial courts to vacate their orders. The court dismissed SAPCR No. 2 for lack of jurisdiction and granted the writ of habeas corpus in Santos’ suit, giving possession of I.E.T. to Santos. Moore surrendered custody. The 13th Court also ordered Moore to pay Santos’ court costs and attorneys’ fees incurred in SAPCR No. 1, Santos’ suit and SAPCR No. 2. The 13th Court cited Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 43.6 in support of its ruling. On Sept. 1, 2005, Moore filed a petition for writ of mandamus in the Texas Supreme Court requesting that it vacate all of the orders entered by the 13th Court. The court denied the petition without issuing an opinion. On May 4, 2006, Santos filed in the 13th Court a Motion Requesting Order for Payment of Attorney Fees as Sanctions against the Real Party in Interest. The court granted the motion on June 22, 2006, issuing an order for Moore to pay Santos $47,178.50 for her attorneys’ fees and costs at both the trial and appellate level. In response, Moore filed this petition requesting that the Texas Supreme Court order the 13th Court to withdraw its sanctions order and award. HOLDING:The court conditionally granted the petition for a writ of mandamus. Moore argued that neither Rule 43.6 nor any statute authorizes the imposition of sanctions by a court of appeals. Moore further contended that only trial courts have the inherent authority to issue sanctions in the form of attorneys’ fees, arguing that courts of appeals lack such inherent authority due to their limited original jurisdiction. Santos contended that the 13th Court issued its sanctions order under that court’s inherent authority, with further authority found in Rule 43.6. In addition, Santos argued that that there was no indication that the 13th Court imposed the order as a sanction. The court disagreed with the latter contention. The order awarding the fees and costs specifically granted Santos’ motion requesting their payment as a sanction, the court stated. Moreover, the language in the court of appeals’ opinion leaves no doubt that the court imposed the fees and costs to penalize Moore for filing SAPCR No. 2 after it had found that she lacked standing in SAPCR No. 1. Assuming without deciding that the 13th Court of Appeals had the authority to issue the sanctions order, the court concluded the 13th Court nonetheless abused its discretion in doing so. In imposing the sanctions, the court failed to acknowledge that Moore, by having constant physical custody of I.E.T. for six months, alleged standing on a different ground in SAPCR No. 2. Thus, Moore did not act inconsistently with the 13th Court’s standing ruling in SAPCR No. 1 in filing SAPCR No. 2. Moreover, the court found that the 13th Court’s characterization of Moore’s conduct as “intransigence” was unfounded, given that she at all times subjected herself and I.E.T. to the jurisdiction of the trial courts, sought their decisions and followed their rulings. The trial courts declined to remove I.E.T. from Moore’s custody. Accordingly, the court found no basis for the 13th Court’s imposition of sanctions. OPINION:Per curiam.

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