Select Page

Texas Pretrial Procedure
South Texas College of Law Houston
Paulsen, James W.

Texas Pre-Trial Procedure

CHAPTER 1. The Texas Civil Justice System


The proper objective of rules of civil procedure is to obtain a just, fair, equitable and impartial adjudication of the rights of litigants under established
principles of substantive law. To the end that this objective may be attained with as great expedition and dispatch and at the least expense both
to the litigants and to the state as may be practicable, these rules shall be given a liberal construction.


Each administrative judicial region, district court, county court, county court at law, and probate court may make and amend local rules governing
practice before such courts, provided:
(1) that any proposed rule or amendment shall not be inconsistent with these rules or with any rule of the administrative judicial region in which
the court is located;
(2) no time period provided by these rules may be altered by local rules;
(3) any proposed local rule or amendment shall not become effective until it is submitted and approved by the Supreme Court of Texas;
(4) any proposed local rule or amendment shall not become effective until at least thirty days after its publication in a manner reasonably calculated
to bring it to the attention of attorneys practicing before the court or courts for which it is made;
(5) all local rules or amendments adopted and approved in accordance herewith are made available upon request to members of the bar;
(6) no local rule, order, or practice of any court, other than local rules and amendments which fully comply with all requirements of this Rule
3a, shall ever be applied to determine the merits of any matter.

– Where you practice, you need a copy of the local rules. They cannot conflict with Rules of Civil procedure, but can supplement.

Rule 13 – Frivolous Pleadings, Motions – not bad faith, groundless, for harrassment – contempt

3 ways to review trial courts decision
1. appeal (after final judgment, if you preserved). Most common. Used for any ruling.
2. writ of mandamus (discretion of appellate cts unless legislature mandates)
a. (an extraordinary remedy); (a creature of the legislature as a way to review a ruling that is not after a final judgment but does not fall under the interlocutory statute)
b. main way to correct a ruling of trial judge at that time. Misleading in that most writs are never granted. Discretionary unless allowable by statute. No consistency. Whole thing is a mess. If granted it is a suggested order for judges to do a certain action. “Gentleman’s Writ”.
c. Both Ct. of appeals and Supreme Court have concurrent power to hear and grant. Therefore, Must begin at the Court of Appeals. If writ fails here, may file writ to S.C. who will hear the claim “de novo”.
d. Relators-party that files writ of mandamus.
e. Must Establish 2 Elements to Have a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus Granted:
1. There is an Abuse of Discretion; and
2. No Adequate Remedy on Appeal
f. Writ of mandameus is not a available tool if it is a final judgment, use interlocutory appeal.
3. interlocutory appeal (order ruling upon special appearance, plea to the jurisdiction)
a. A special appearance-can appeal the granting of a special appearance except in family law.
b. Plea to the jurisdiction.
c. Venue rulings

Polaris Investment Mngt. Corp v. Abascal – 892 S.W.2d 860

y any applicable statute, the day of the act, event, or
default after which the designated period of time begins to run is not to be included. The last day of the period so computed is to be included, unless
it is a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, in which event the period runs until the end of the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday. Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays shall not be counted for any purpose in any time period of five days or less in these rules, except that
Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays shall be counted for purposes of the three-day periods in Rules 21 and 21a, extending other periods by three
days when service is made by registered or certified mail or by telephonic document transfer, and for purposes of the five-day periods provided for
under Rules 748, 749, 749a, 749b, and 749c.

-day of the act or event from which you are calculating your response time is not included in the time you have to respond. Thus, the date of filing, service, or court order is always Day 0.

When by these rules or by a notice given thereunder or by order of court an act is required or allowed to be done at or within a specified time, the
court for cause shown may, at any time in its discretion (a) with or without motion or notice, order the period enlarged if application therefor is made