Texas Constitution Article 5 Section 16
In County of Anderson v. Kennedy, 58 Tex. 616, 623 (1883), the Supreme Court noted that article 5, section 16 restricts the use of writs by a county court "and to make the same apply to the enforcement of such jurisdiction as had been given by a named subject matter or the amount in controversy." See 58 Tex. at 623.
The Young court reached the same conclusion about the county court's jurisdiction, although stating it in the negative:
[We] are unable to find any authority warranting the court in granting this injunction because of any of the matters and charges contained in the foregoing petition, this being an original proceeding for injunction not ancillary to any suit pending in said court, with no ascertainable amount in controversy, and not relating to any subject-matter over which jurisdiction is by law conferred upon the county court . . . .See Young, 141 S.W. at 119-20.
Although County of Anderson involved the Constitution of 1875, and Young involved the Constitution of 1891, the language pertinent to the county courts' authority to issue injunctions has remained the same since the 1875 Constitution. See County of Anderson, 58 Tex. at 623; see also Young, 141 S.W. at 119-20.
In summary, the conclusion to be reached from these cases is that when a county court already has jurisdiction over a controversy, either by the subject matter or amount in controversy, it has exclusive power to dispose of the controversy; this power includes the issuance of injunctions that are related to the controversy. See id; see also City of Garland v. Mayhew, 528 S.W.2d 305, 307 (Tex. Civ. App.-Tyler 1975, writ ref'd n.r.e.) (holding that "the county court at law is a court of general jurisdiction in eminent domain matters, and, by necessary implication, this jurisdiction includes the right to try and decide all questions which might arise in such controversies . . ..").
As one law review commentator has stated, "jurisdiction to grant incidental or auxiliary injunction or mandamus follows that applicable to the main controversy." See John A. Hamilton, Courts - Jurisdiction of District and County Courts of Texas to Issue Injunction and Mandamus, 12 TEX. LAW REV. 457, 468 (1934).
The county court's auxiliary or ancillary jurisdiction includes the right to try and decide all questions which may fairly arise out of, or in connection with, a condemnation suit. See e.g., Brazos River Conservation and Reclamation Dist. v. Reese, 146 S.W.2d 519, 524 (Tex. Civ. App.-Eastland 1940, no writ.) (holding that county court had jurisdiction to issue injunction to protect property rights pending the final disposition of condemnation proceedings);
See also BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY 855 (7th ed. 1999) ("ancillary jurisdiction" refers to "a court's jurisdiction to adjudicate claims and proceedings that arise out of a claim that is properly before the court").