Establishing Proper Venue In a Multiple Plaintiffs Suit In Texas
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Section 15.003 provides:
(a) In a suit where more than one plaintiff is joined each plaintiff must, independently of any other plaintiff, establish proper venue. Any person who is unable to establish proper venue may not join or maintain venue for the suit as a plaintiff unless the person, independently of any other plaintiff, establishes that:
(1) joinder or intervention in the suit is proper under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure;
(2) maintaining venue in the county of suit does not unfairly prejudice another party to the suit;
(3) there is an essential need to have the person's claim tried in the county in which the suit is pending; and
(4) the county in which the suit is pending is a fair and convenient venue for the person seeking to join in or maintain venue for the suit and the persons against whom the suit is brought.
(c) Any person seeking intervention or joinder, who is unable to independently establish proper venue, or a party opposing intervention or joinder of such a person may contest the decision of the trial court allowing or denying intervention or joinder by taking an interlocutory appeal to the court of appeals district in which the trial court is located . . . .Id. 15.003(a), (c) (Vernon Supp. 2000).
If a plaintiff can establish that venue is proper in the county of suit, the plaintiff does not have to establish that joinder is proper under the four section 15.003(a) factors. See TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE ANN. 15.003(a), (b).
An interlocutory appeal is available only from the trial court's determination whether joinder is proper based on the four factors.
An interlocutory appeal is not available from the trial court's determination that a plaintiff can independently establish proper venue apart from the four joinder factors. See American Home Prods. Corp. v. Clark, 999 S.W.2d 908, 910 (Tex. App.--Waco 1999, pet. granted) (holding that where trial court found each plaintiff had established proper venue under sections 15.002 and 15.005 and therefore did not reach question of whether joinder was proper based on section 15.003(a) factors, section 15.003(c) could not provide basis for interlocutory appeal).
The Texas Supreme Court has held that an interlocutory appeal under section 15.003(c) is available "when a trial court's order necessarily determines the propriety of a plaintiff's joinder under section 15.003(a)." Surgitek v. Abel, 997 S.W.2d 598, 601 (Tex. 1999).
In construing a statute, our objective is to determine and give effect to the Legislature's intent. See Albertson's, Inc. v. Sinclair, 984 S.W.2d 958, 960 (Tex. 1999).
We look to the statute's plain and common meaning, and we should not construe a statute to create an absurd result. See TEX. GOV'T CODE ANN. 311.021(3), 312.002(a) (Vernon 1998); Fitzgerald v. Advanced Spine Fixation, 996 S.W.2d 864, 865 (Tex. 1999); Barshop v. Medina County Underground Water Cons. Dist., 925 S.W.2d 618, 629 (Tex. 1996).
By its express terms, section 15.003(c) only provides an appeal from the trial court's joinder determination as to plaintiffs who are "unable to independently establish proper venue." TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE ANN. 15.003(c); see also Surgitek, 997 S.W.2d at 602 ("Section 15.003(a) takes as its starting point a 'person who is unable to establish proper venue.'").