In re Am Re Syndicate, Inc.
Dallas Court of Appeals, No. 05-21-00358-CV (February 23, 2022)
Justices Myers (Opinion, linked here), Partida-Kipness, and Carlyle
Ordinarily, an appeal or mandamus is decided on the basis of the record before the trial court at the time it issued the order challenged in the appellate court. But not always.
Plaintiff TEXCAZ sued Am Re and its CEO, Barder, alleging breach of contract, fraud (for entering into a contract they didn’t intend to perform), tortious interference, and conspiracy. Am Re and Barder moved to dismiss, because the contract at issue specified that the forum for determining “any controversy arising out of this Agreement, or any breach thereof, shall be in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma.” Am Re and Barder were not parties to that contract—Am Re’s principal, GIC, was—but Am Re and Barder contended TEXCAZ was estopped to deny it was bound by the Oklahoma forum-selection clause by virtue of its claims of breach of the contract containing that provision and fraud regarding the lack of intent to perform that contract. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss. Am Re and Barder sought mandamus to enforce the forum-selection clause.
Several months after Am Re and Barder filed their mandamus petition, TEXCAZ amended its petition in the trial court to drop its claims for breach of contract and fraud. In addition, GIC revoked Am Re’s agency authority. Based on these post-petition developments, the Dallas Court of Appeals concluded “that the controversy does not arise out of the contract and that relators lack capacity and standing to assert the forum- or venue-selection clause.” It therefore denied mandamus.