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Court Procedures

MOTION PRACTICE

Any response, reply or supplement to a motion must be filed before 5:00 pm the last business day before the hearing in order to be considered by the Court.  Leave of court may be requested in writing.  The Court may reset the hearing if leave is granted. 

In General:  
Deliver courtesy copies (no notebooks - please tab exhibits) to the 190th of (1) any motion, response, etc. which is over 40 pages inclusive of exhibits; and (2) any motion, response or reply filed less than 2 business days before a hearing or submission date.  Note: The Court may not consider documents filed within 2 days of the hearing.  Any motion with more than 5 exhibits must include a document entitled “Exhibit List” which specifically identifies each exhibit

Motions are set on either the Monday oral docket or the Monday submission docket.  Please contact the Court Clerk for oral hearing dates and times. Motions may be set on the Court’s submission docket, which is every Monday at 8:00 am with proper notice.  A notice, certificate of conference and proposed order are required in order for the motion to be placed on the  docket.  Always confirm with the Court Clerk that a filed motion has met these requirements and has been set on the docket.  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. 

Appearances by telephone and hearings by teleconference may be arranged through the Court Clerk.

Responses: Include an order denying your opponent’s motion. Failure to file a written response 24 hours prior to hearing or submission may be considered a representation of no opposition and may not be considered.

 

Severance: If a severance is granted, the party requesting the severance must identify all pleadings that are to be severed into the new file in the proposed order. 

 

Agreed motions:  Agreed motions do not have to be placed on the Court’s hearing docket. File them with the Court and advise the Clerk. 

Discovery and Other Non-Evidentiary Motions:
 Lead counsel are required to confer and narrow their areas of disagreement in advance of any hearing.  The Court may remove from the hearing or submission docket any motion filed without a certificate of conference attached.   

Rule 106 Motion for Substituted Service: Attach an Order conforming to the Court's suggested form: FORM - ORDER subs service grntd form.doc
.   

Motion to Withdraw or Substitute Counsel:  All motions to withdraw or substitute counsel must comply with Rule 10 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.  If an attorney seeks to withdraw as counsel for any entity which can not as a matter of law appear pro se, the motion must state that the entity has been advised that it must substitute 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: Advise the Court Clerk if more than 15 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.

Emergency Hearings: May be scheduled through the Court Clerk.

Dismissal Docket/Motions to Retain/Motions to Reinstate: File a sworn Motion to Retain and attend the hearing to dismiss.

Default Judgments:  In any case where a default judgment is requested based on service at an address other than the address set forth in the Citation, the Court may require evidence of the steps taken to ensure that the individual served is, in fact, the correct party and evidence on whether the address at which the party is served is known to be the abode or business location of Defendant. 

Faxes:  Documents are not to be faxed directly to the Court's fax machine without express authorization.  Documents faxed without authorization may be destroyed.  The Clerks of the 190th Court are not responsible for ensuring that any documents sent by fax become part of the Court's file.  It is counsel's responsibility to ensure that documents which they intend to become part of the record are filed with the District Clerk's office.  Any faxed documents may be made part of the file or destroyed at the Court's discretion.

Courtesy Copies:  The Court will not be responsible to file courtesy copies of documents submitted by counsel.  Counsel remains responsible to file all documents with the District Clerk's office that are intended to become part of the 190th Court file, including originals of courtesy copies.  Courtesy copies may be destroyed or disposed of by the Court as the Court deems appropriate.  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.

PRE-TRIAL AND TRIAL PROCEDURES

Jury Trials:  If your case is set on a 2 week docket, it is subject to being called to trial at any time during that 2 week period.  The Court will issue a pre-trial order.  Compliance with the order is mandatory.  Before the day of trial, all exhibits should be made available to all parties for inspection and copying on request. All exhibits should be pre-marked, and an 8 1/2 X 11 size duplicate exhibit should be provided for any blowup exhibit.  Follow the requirements of the Court's pre-trial order. 

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 scheduled for trial pursuant to a docket control order.  If your case is a Level 3 case or you need special scheduling consideration (e.g., a longer discovery period, a quicker trial setting), prepare an agreed scheduling order and submit it to the Court.  If you need to amend any deadline in the docket control order (except the trial setting), you may do so either by Rule 11 agreement or by moving for leave of Court.  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.   

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.    

Trial Continuances: Motions must comply with TRCP 251.  First continuances may be granted for good cause or upon agreement of the parties.  These motions may be submitted for immediate ruling without oral hearing.  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 motions for continuance must be filed before the day of docket call.  All deadlines remain in effect after the granting of a continuance unless a new DCO is requested. 

Venire Panel:  Advise the Court sixty (60) days before trial if more than 60 venire panel members will be needed so the Ceremonial Courtroom can be reserved.

Docket Call: Docket call will be held the week before the start of the two-week trial docket.  When the case is called to trial, a pre-trial conference will be conducted and rulings issued.  The Trial Coordinator will telephone counsel with the date and time to appear for trial during the two-week trial docket. ALL CASES ON THE DOCKET ARE SUBJECT TO BEING CALLED FOR TRIAL AT ANY TIME DURING THE TWO WEEKS.  Docket positions are available on the Court's web site or by contacting the Trial Coordinator.

Courtroom Decorum: Attorneys and parties should stand each time the jury enters or exits the courtroom. During examinations, attorneys may sit or stand to conduct their examinations. Attorneys need only ask to approach a witness, one time a day. After that, permission to approach that witness can be assumed. Only the Bailiff may pass exhibits to the jury. No beverages are permitted in the courtroom other than water. Gum chewing is not permitted in the courtroom. 

Voir Dire:  If voir dire is to be recorded by the court reporter, please inform the Court during the pre-trial conference.  The Court will set time limits for voir dire.   

Courtroom Equipment: The Court has video equipment such as an Elmo, DVD player, VHS player, Audio Cassette player and an overhead projector.  Please visit the courtroom or contact the Bailiff for more information.  The Harris County Wireless Network also provides basic Internet access to attorneys and guests.  Please contact court staff for access codes.

The foregoing are general guidelines which may be adapted or modified in the Court's discretion based upon the circumstances presented by an individual case.

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