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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The underlying dispute involved competing security interests in oil and gas leases. In 2006, Paul A. Turner loaned Terax Energy Inc. $2.5 million. Terax’s debt was secured by a deed of trust, security agreement, assignment of production and financing statement executed by Erath Energy that conveyed a security interest in several oil and gas leases in Erath County (known as “the Mitchell lease”). Baker Hughes Oilfield Operations Inc., doing business as Hughes Christensen Company, also filed a mechanic’s lien against this same lease. Baker Hughes filed suit against Terax and Erath Energy and obtained a default judgment that foreclosed its lien. J.D. Fields & Co., Inc. filed a separate suit against Baker Hughes and 20 to 30 other creditors to stop foreclosure actions on the Mitchell lease. When Turner subsequently initiated foreclosure proceedings on the Terax note, J.D. Fields added him as a defendant and asked the court to enjoin his foreclosure. Baker Hughes noticed Turner’s deposition for Stephenville. Turner filed a motion to quash and for protective order, and the trial court held a hearing. Turner offered evidence that: he was not a United States citizen; that he has made occasional business trips to the United States but does not regularly travel to the United States and has never been to Texas; that his last trip to the United States was in 2006; and that this trip was to New York City. Turner asked the court to quash Baker Hughes’ notice and order that the deposition be taken by phone or by video. Baker Hughes responded that, because Turner was a party, it had the right under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 199.2(b)(2)(C) to take Turner’s deposition in Stephenville. The trial court ordered that Turner’s deposition be taken in Dallas but otherwise denied Turner’s motion. HOLDING:The court granted the petition for a writ of mandamus in part. Rule 199.2(b)(2), the court stated, provides that a deposition may take place at: the county of the witness’ residence; the county where the witness is employed or regularly transacts business in person; the county of suit, if the witness is a party or a person designated by a party under Rule 199.2(b)(1); the county where the witness was served with the subpoena, or within 150 miles of the place of service, if the witness is not a resident of Texas or is a transient person; or “subject to the foregoing, at any other convenient place directed by the court in which the cause is pending.” When a deposition, the court stated, takes place outside one of the counties specifically identified by Rule 199.2(b)(2), it must be at a convenient place. Because it is clearly easier for an international traveler to travel to Dallas than Stephenville, the court found that “if the trial court was authorized to order Turner to come to Stephenville for a deposition, it did not abuse its discretion by moving the deposition to Dallas.” The trial court therefore treated the deposition as if it were taking place in the county of the suit. Baker Hughes argued that a deposition in any of the locations provided for by Rule 199.2(b)(2) is by definition reasonable and thus cannot amount to an abuse of discretion. The court agreed that the trial court’s broad discretion in discovery matters will in most instances afford it the authority to order a party to appear in the county of the suit for an oral deposition. But the court found that when international travel is involved, additional considerations are implicated. An attorney’s preference for an oral deposition is not synonymous with an actual need for one, the court stated. The only justification Baker Hughes offered for deposing Turner, the court stated, was the following statement: “Mr. Turner’s deposition is tremendously important in order to gather information regarding the transaction involving Mr. Turner and Terax and to determine the priority of the multiple lien claims in the Lawsuit.” Clearly, the court stated, Baker Hughes was entitled to depose Turner. The question, the court stated, was whether there is an actual need for an oral deposition sufficient to justify requiring Turner to travel internationally. The court found that the trial court discussed alternative methods of deposing Turner but, after expressing its concern that Turner would be subjected to numerous separate deposition requests, never resolved the question of whether an alternative method was sufficient. Because a party cannot be forced to travel internationally when alternative means of taking the deposition are adequate, the court found that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering Turner to appear in Dallas for a deposition. OPINION:Strange, J.; Wright, C.J., and McCall and Strange, JJ.

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