Please E-mail suggested additions, comments and/or corrections to Kent@MoreLaw.Com.
Help support the publication of case reports on MoreLaw
Railroad Commission of Texas, Chairman Wayne Christian, and Commissioners Christi Craddick and Ryan Sitton v. Public Citizen, Inc., Hugh Fitzsimons, and Molly K. Rooke
Case Number: 07-21-00009-CV
Judge: Per Curiam
Court: Court of Appeals
Seventh District of Texas at Amarillo
Just Call 855-853-4800 for Free Help Finding a Lawyer Help You.
Amarillo, TX - Oil and Gas attorney's represented Railroad Commission of Texas, Chairman Wayne Christian, and Commissioners Christi Craddick and Ryan Sitton and Public Citizen, Inc., Hugh Fitzsimons, and Molly K. Rooke with temporary exception orders being issued without proper notice as required by the Texas Open Meetings Act. .
On May 5, 2020, the RRC issued three emergency orders, promulgated to address
the COVID-19 pandemic, suspending certain rules of the oil and gas industry.
Specifically, the RRC granted temporary exceptions related to wells that were in
production, newly created alternative underground storage, authorized pits, and fees and
Public Citizen, Inc. challenged those temporary exception orders as being issued
without proper notice as required by the Texas Open Meetings Act. It also alleged the
emergency temporary exception orders did not comply with the Administrative Procedure
Act and violated the Texas Constitution.
On August 26, 2020, a virtual hearing was held via Zoom on Public Citizen Inc.’s
request for mandamus relief, for a temporary injunction, and on a plea to the jurisdiction
filed by the RRC. After hearing testimony, the trial court reviewed the evidence and, on
December 8, 2020, issued a Temporary Injunction granting Public Citizen Inc.’s request
only on claims based on the Texas Open Meetings Act. See TEX. GOV’T CODE ANN. §
551.001-.146 (West 2017 & Supp. 2020).
1 Originally appealed to the Third Court of Appeals, sitting in Austin, this appeal was transferred to
this court by the Texas Supreme Court pursuant to its docket equalization efforts. TEX. GOV’T CODE ANN. §
73.001 (West 2013). Should a conflict exist between precedent of the Third Court of Appeals and this court
on any relevant issue, this appeal will be decided in accordance with the precedent of the transferor court.
TEX. R. APP. P. 41.3.
On January 12, 2021, this court issued an order preserving the status quo of the
trial court’s Temporary Injunction during the pendency of this interlocutory appeal. R.R.
Comm’n v. Pub. Citizen, Inc., No. 07-21-00009-CV, 2021 Tex. App. LEXIS 556, at *3
(Tex. App.—Amarillo Jan. 12. 2021, order). The RRC now represents that it complied
with the relevant terminating condition of the Temporary Injunction by publishing proper
notice of an open meeting and by re-issuing notice of the particular agenda item at issue.
Consequently, this interlocutory appeal is moot and ripe for dismissal.
We grant the Motion to Dismiss. Having granted the motion at the request of the
Railroad Commission of Texas, Chairman Wayne Christian, and Commissioners Christi
Craddick and Ryan Sitton, TEX. R. APP. P. 42.1(a)(1), no motion for rehearing will be
entertained and our mandate will issue forthwith. Because the motion does not address
costs, costs will be taxed against Appellants. TEX. R. APP. P. 42.1(d).
Outcome: The RRC also filed an Unopposed Second Motion for Extension of Time to File
Appellants’ Brief in the event the Motion to Dismiss was denied. Our disposition renders the motion for extension of time moot.