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Court Procedures

New Procedures for the 190th District Court:

Mandatory Electronic Filing

In accordance with the Local Rule of Harris County District Courts, all cases in the 190th District Courts shall be electronically filed. When filing documents, the title must match the document title exactly. No PDFs will be accepted.

HEARINGS

Oral Docket. Any party requesting an oral hearing should call the Court Clerk for a date and time. No formal request for oral hearing is required. Once you call the clerk and obtain a hearing date, please file a notice of oral hearing and serve it on all counsel or pro se parties.

Submission Docket. If you do not require an oral hearing, you may set your matter on the submission docket. The submission docket takes place on Mondays at 8:00 a.m., with 10 days’ notice. If your matter is set on the submission docket, please file a notice of submission and serve it on all counsel or pro se parties and the Court.

If a matter is placed on the submission docket and the non-movant would like to request an oral hearing, please file a written request for an oral hearing along with your response to the motion. If the Court grants a request for a motion on submission to be set on the oral docket, the party requesting the oral hearing must give notice to all parties of the hearing.

Emergencies. To request an emergency hearing, please contact the Court Clerk to either request an oral hearing or a telephone conference with the Court, subject to the Court's availability.

You may appear by telephone only upon receiving special permission from the Court in advance of the hearing. Please contact our Court Clerks or Trial Coordinator with your request to appear by telephone.

MOTIONS

Certificate of Conference/order.  All Motions should include a certificate of conference. Also, please remember to submit a proposed order or judgment with your motion

Discovery Motions. Please remember to always confer before filing any motion related to discovery issues. Be sure to attach a copy of the discovery response at issue or state verbatim the request and answer in the body of your motion. Any proposed orders should list each discovery issue separately.

Agreed Motions. Agreed motions may be placed on the Court's submission docket. In the event that an agreed motion is denied without a hearing, you can request a subsequent oral hearing on the motion.

Plaintiffs Nonsuits and Agreed Judgments. Plaintiffs' non-suits and agreed judgments can be submitted to the Court without the need for an oral hearing or a submission date. If your case is currently set for trial or entry, please submit any nonsuits or agreed judgments at least one week in advance.

Responses. Please e-file your response, reply, or supplement before 5:00 p.m. of the last business day before the hearing in order to be considered by the court. Please include a proposed order denying your opponent's motion.

Default Judgments. An oral hearing is only required if you are proving up damages, otherwise default judgments may be set on the Court's submission docket. The Non-Military Affidavit must comply with recent amendments to the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act.

Special Note Regarding Homeowners' Association Defaults:

The Court makes a special attempt to work together with Homeowners Associations and property owners in judicial foreclosure cases. Such Motions for Default Judgment based upon unpaid assessments or deed restriction violations must be set for an oral hearing, however, a board member or property manager does not need to be present at the hearing.

The Court would like to review the following three documents at the hearing: (1) the lien foreclosure language in the declarations; (2) the deed; and (3) the accounting. Rather than submitting the entirety of the Associations' declarations with your motion, however, the Court is only interested in reviewing the lien foreclosure language. Likewise, the Court is only interested in reviewing the property description within the deed.

Severance. Motions for Severance should be set either for submission or oral hearing. The motion must state the basis for the severance. The proposed Order of Severance should include the following: (1) how you request the case to be styled; (2) the cause number; (3) the parties to be included in the severed case; (4) all the pleadings that are to be severed into the new file; (5) whether the Order disposes of the severed case, or whether it will remain an active case; and finally, (6) who will pay for the costs of severance.

Motions to Withdraw as Attorney of Record. If you are requesting that the Court permit you to withdraw as attorney of record, you must set your motion for an oral hearing, even if agreed, with proper notice to your client. If your client has not agreed to the withdrawal, you must provide the Court with proof of service of your motion and notice of hearing.

Within your motion, please state the particular circumstances and disciplinary rules requiring your withdrawal and include a certificate with your client's name, last known address and telephone number. Additionally, if your client is a corporation, you must notify your corporate client that a corporation cannot proceed pro se and must obtain new counsel within 30 days of the date of withdrawal of prior counsel, or the Court may enter a judgment against said entity. This requirement must also be included in the proposed order. The motion and the order signed by the Court must be served on the client by the withdrawing attorney.

Motion for Summary Judgment: Please advise the Court Clerk if more than 30 minutes is needed for a hearing on a motion for summary judgment so more time can be allotted.  Copies of relevant cases are appreciated.  Highlighting is appreciated as long as highlighted copies are provided to all parties.

Rule 106 Motions for Substituted Service. Attach an Order conforming to the court’s suggested form: 190TH Order Granting Rule 106 Substitute Service.docx.  Rule 106 motions can be submitted to the Court without the need for an oral hearing. All motions for Substituted Service under Rule 106 must be accompanied by an affidavit that includes the following information:

  1. Efforts taken to verify that defendant actually lives or works at the subject address;

  2. Each attempt at service, with date and time;

  3. Identity of persons who were present at the subject address and what was said; and

  4. Identity of cars in driveway or other indications that defendant resides at the subject address.

Temporary Injunctions. Temporary Injunctions are generally set on Mondays at 11:00 a.m. Please contact our Court Clerks before your hearing date to let us know if you are ready to proceed and advise us as to how long your hearing may take. Please do not do not bring your witnesses to Court until you have spoken to our Court Clerks.

TRIAL CONTINUANCES

Generally, a first request for a trial continuance is granted without the need for an oral hearing or a submission date, if it is agreed. Subsequent continuance requests should be set for oral hearing or on the submission docket with proper notice to all parties.  Proposed continuance orders shall state the proposed date for resetting the trial.  All deadlines remain in effect after the granting of a continuance unless a new DCO is requested.

Please submit your motions for continuance before your trial date. If for any reason you cannot do so, please contact our trial coordinator, Jerry Miranda, directly at 832-927-2306.

We honor all timely-filed vacation letters, provided your case has not already been preferentially set for trial. To assert a vacation letter, please file a motion for continuance with a copy of your vacation letter attached to your motion.

TRIALS

Trial settings and Pretrial Conferences.

We will set your case for trial during a two-week docket. We do not have docket positions, but instead, your case will be set for a date certain by the trial coordinator. If a case is not reached within the two week docket, the Court will automatically issue an order resetting the trial date.  Preferential settings are available in special circumstances and may be requested by motion.

The Court appreciates knowing the issues in your case before the time of trial, and thus, we will pretrial your case before your trial date. Please exchange all pre­trial documents before your pretrial conference, including motions in limine, exhibits, witness lists and proposed jury charges. During your pre-trial conference, the Court will rule on any non-agreed upon motions in limine, pre-admit any agreed-upon exhibits, discuss your witnesses and the length of your trial, and any other relevant matters.

Docket Call: Appearance at Docket Call is no longer required.  The coordinator will contact all counsel when the case is being called to trial.

Trial Notebooks. Notebooks are not required, but they are extremely helpful for the Court.

Challenges to Experts. If you anticipate challenging an expert's qualifications, please do not wait until the first day of trial to discuss such with the Court. Instead, please file your Motion and set it for an oral hearing in advance of trial.

Voir Dire. The Court allots time for voir dire depending on the complexity of the case. After the general voir dire, individual jurors can be questioned at the bench for cause.

Exhibits. As explained above, please exchange your exhibits before your pre-trial conference.

Depositions. Please provide page/lines for any witness anticipated to testify by deposition at trial at least seven days prior to trial date. Opposing counsel must promptly advise of any objections. Any objections not agreed to must be presented to the Court at the pre-trial conference.

Motions in Limine. As explained above, please exchange your motions in limine before your pre-trial conference. Please limit your motions to items specific to the facts of your case.

Court's Charge. Please exchange your proposed jury charges before your pre-trial conference. Bring copies of your proposed charge with you to your pre-trial conference. We will discuss your charge informally as the evidence develops at the end of each day of trial.

Non-Jury Trials. Follow the above guidelines for the jury trial, but prepare, exchange and file proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law and a proposed form of judgment.

Trial Settings. All cases are automatically set for trial after the answer of a defendant. Most cases are reset within three (3) months if not reached at the first setting.

Rolling Docket.  If a case is not reached during its two week docket, the parties may jointly request that, in addition to a new trial setting, the case be placed on the Court's Rolling Docket where it will remain on an "on call for trial" status.  If the Court's trial docket opens up, the Court will call cases from the Rolling Docket.  Cases will only be assigned to trial from the Rolling Docket if all parties are available when called by the Court.

MEDIATION

The Court does not order mediation, but may encourage it if appropriate. The Court makes this determination on a case-by-case basis. Certainly, you are always able to agree independently on whether you will mediate your case before trial.

Courtroom Audio/Video Equipment

Audio-Visual Equipment. All courtrooms have state of the art audio-visual equipment, including an ELMO (document camera), computer jacks, projectors, TV screens and DVD players. We encourage you to use the ELMO to present exhibits to the jury. If you are unfamiliar with its use, you may visit our courtroom to test the equipment. For detailed instructions on use of the audio-visual equipment, please visit the following

web link: http://www.justex.net/Courts/Civil/CivilTechnology.aspx

Miscellaneous

Faxes:  Documents are not to be faxed directly to the Court's fax machine without express authorization.  Documents faxed without authorization may be destroyed. 

Courtesy Copies:  Providing courtesy copies of pleadings to the court is not required, unless requested.  Any documents the Court requests that counsel submit electronically, such as the proposed charge or additional briefing or orders, shall be considered courtesy copies and shall be handled as set forth above.

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