SEVERANCE OF CLAIMS (TRCP 41)
See Tex. R. Civ. P. 41 (any claim against a party may be severed and proceeded with separately)
A claim may be properly severed only if: (1) the controversy involves more than one cause of
action, (2) the severed claim is one that would be proper if independently asserted, and (3) the
severed claim is not so interwoven with the remaining action that they involve the same facts and
issues. State Dep't of Highways & Pub. Transp. v. Cotner, 845 S.W.2d 818, 819 (Tex. 1993).
Additionally, even when a case may be properly severed, a severance must be affected prior to the
point at which all the facts have been presented to the finder of fact and the parties have requested
a resolution. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 41; In re El Paso County Hosp. Dist., 979 S.W.2d 10, 12 (Tex.App.-
El Paso 1998, orig. proceeding).
A severance divides a lawsuit into two or more separate and independent causes that may be
resolved separately. In re Liu, 290 S.W.3d 550, 519-20 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 2009, no pet.)
(citing Hall v. City of Austin, 450 S.W.2d 836, 837-38 (Tex. 1970)). When a severance is granted,
the separated causes proceed to individual judgments–judgments that are separately final and
appealable. Liu, 290 S.W.3d at 520 (citing Hall, 450 S.W.2d at 838); see Van Dyke v. Boswell, O’
Toole, Davis & Pickering, 697 S.W.2d 381, 383 (Tex. 1985). In other words, after a
severance, there are two separate causes resulting in two separate judgments. Accordingly, the
“one judgment rule,” which states “one final judgment shall be rendered in any cause” is not
implicated because there are two causes with separate judgments. 04-10-00602-CV 11/23/11
CASES FROM THE TEXAS SUPREME COURT
The supreme court has held the granting of a severance is effective when signed. McRoberts v.
Ryals, 863 S.W.2d 450, 452-53 (Tex. 1993); Finlan v. Peavy, 205 S.W.3d 647, 651 (Tex. App.—
Waco 2006, no pet.). The severance becomes effective without the district clerk’s assignment of a
new docket number and without the creation of a separate physical file. Id. Moreover, the
severance is effective immediately whether or not the clerk ever creates a physically separate file
or assigns a new number to it. Id. Accordingly, the severance was not ineffective for the trial court’s
failure to assign a separate docket number to the severed cause. See id.
In Re State of Texas, No. 10-0235 (Tex. Aug. 26, 2011)(Chief Jefferson)(severance order set
aside as prejudicial by mandamus)
After the State sought to condemn a tract of land, the owners subdivided the property into eight
separate parcels. The trial court then severed the case into eight different proceedings. The State
contends that the severance was improper, and it seeks a writ of mandamus requiring the trial court
to vacate the order. Because the severance would require eight trials where only one is
appropriate, and because it would preclude the State from presenting relevant valuation evidence,
we conditionally grant the writ.
Conclusion. The trial court's severance order prejudices the State's right to offer its valuation
evidence and would cause needless duplication of legal services and expert testimony, wasting not
only the parties' resources but those of the public at large. Accordingly, we conditionally grant the
writ of mandamus and direct the trial court to vacate its severance order. We are confident the trial
court will comply, and our writ will issue only if it does not.
IN RE STATE OF TEXAS; from Travis County; 3rd district (03-10-00121-CV, ___ SW3d ___, 03-31-
The Court conditionally grants the writ of mandamus.
Chief Justice Jefferson delivered the opinion of the Court. [pdf]
Link to e-briefs: (including multiple amicus briefs): IN RE STATE OF TEXAS
CASES FROM TEXAS APPEALS COURTS
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