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    Trial and Pre Trial Procedures

    Law books and gavel

    Suits Involving Minors

    The Court will not approve the settlement, dismissal or nonsuit of any cause of action involving a minor without the recommendation of an ad litem.

     

    Scheduling Orders

    The Court does not typically request a scheduling order, but may require one when it appears appropriate.  The parties may submit an agreed scheduling order.

    For jury trials, the trial date shall be listed as “the week of…” and shall specify (1) the date of the Monday of the scheduled week; and (2) the estimated trial time.  As the trial date approaches, the Court shall notify the parties of the specific date the parties shall appear.  Be sure you select a week juries are available.

    For nonjury trials, please arrange a date with the coordinator and advise of the estimated time required.

    The Court does not require a pretrial conference, but will set one if needed or on request.

     

    Mediation:

    When ordered, mediation must be completed before trial.  The parties may request a specific mediator upon motion and submission of an Agreed Order to the Court.  If mediation is ordered and a party is opposed to mediation, they must notify the Court of the reasons for their opposition in a motion, confer with opposing counsel as to whether such motion is agreed, and request a hearing if the motion is opposed.

     

     Hearing on Motions:

    Please consult the Tarrant County Local Rules before setting a Motion.

    Tarrant County Court at Law No. 1 has the following Rules regarding Motions (other than dispositive Motions):

    1. Parties should use all reasonable means to resolve disputes and avoid the necessity of court intervention.  This means counsel needs to communicate with opposing counsel!
    2. No motion, objection, or special exception will be set for hearing unless the moving party has certified in the motion, or in an attached letter, substantially the following:

    "A conference was held on (date) with opposing counsel regarding the merits of this motion.  A reasonable effort was made to resolve this dispute without the necessity of a hearing but such effort failed, therefore, it is presented to the Court for determination."

    OR

    A conference was not held with opposing counsel on the merits of this motion because (set forth in detail the reasons a conference could not held, including the time(s) and date(s) contact was attempted)".

    1. On the date of hearing, Parties appearing for a Motion will be directed to discuss points of contention and attempt to resolve the dispute without Court intervention.
    2. By agreement, and with Court approval, Motions which do not require additional evidence may be heard by telephone conference. The movant will be responsible for arranging the conference call.


    Certificate of Conference

    The Local Rules require a certificate of conference to set a hearing on most motions.


    Summary Judgment Hearings


    The Court does not require a certificate of conference for summary judgment motions.


    Cancellations

    Immediately notify the Court, all counsel and all pro se parties if you need to cancel or reschedule a hearing.

     


    Trial Date and Continuances

    Generally, the parties are responsible for managing their cases.  The Court assigns each case a trial date of their choosing on written request of a party.

    Agreed continuances for cases less than one year old (other than appeals from Justice Court and FE&D/Eviction appeals) typically will be granted without a hearing.  Signatures of all counsel are required on motions for continuance for cases older than one year.  An opposed continuance requires a hearing.  Please file your agreed Motion for Continuance and notify the Court Coordinator of your agreement as soon as possible to help the Court manage its docket.

    Forcible Entry and Detainer (FE&D/Eviction) appeals from Justice of the Peace courts are entitled to priority on the Court’s docket, and will typically not be continued without either good cause or the consent of both parties.  Medical good cause should be evidenced by a physician’s letter reflecting: (1) inpatient treatment as of the date of trial or (2) imminent need for medical attention.  FE&D/Eviction continuances will typically be two weeks or less.

    All parties must be prepared for trial on the scheduled date and time.  Generally, all cases placed on the trial docket and not continued are reached for trial.


    Jury Panel and Voir Dire

    The Court will invite a jury panel of 18 unless other arrangements are made with the Court Coordinator at least one week prior to trial.  While the Court has no standing time limit for voir dire, there will be a time limit.

    Anyone wishing to use exhibits or demonstrative aids during voir dire needs to obtain the agreement of opposing counsel or bring the request to the Court's attention.  The Court does not favor use of such materials unless helpful or absolutely necessary.


    Juror Questionnaires

    If agreed, the Court may submit a jury questionnaire.  The Court suggests a one page form except in exceptional circumstances, with space for the prospective juror to note any hardships or problems in serving for the estimated trial length.  The Court will resolve any disagreement as to specific questions or whether a questionnaire should be submitted, which must be brought to the Court's attention before the morning of trial.  Counsel should provide pens and clipboards to facilitate the completion of questionnaires.


    Expert Witness Challenge

    Objections to an expert witness should be filed more than one week before trial so that the Court may conduct a hearing on the objection before trial.  Expert challenges not timely filed will be considered by the Court at its discretion.


    Trial Documents

    Not later than the morning of trial, the parties should file with Clerk, exchange and provide the Court:

    1. A Motion in Limine if applicable.  The parties shall confer and determine which, if any, items require a Court ruling;
    2. An Exhibit List.  The parties shall confer and determine which, if any, items require a Court ruling;
    3. A Witness List (so that parties may determine that witnesses were properly identified in a timely manner); and
    4. A proposed Jury Charge (jury cases) or proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law (non-jury cases).

    The proposed Jury Charge should be submitted by email to Beckee Partin (bjpartin@tarrantcounty.com), the Court Reporter, not later than the last business day before the trial is scheduled to begin, or brought to trial on a flash drive and tendered to the Court Reporter before the beginning of voir dire.


    Texas Lawyers’ Creed

    https://www.legalethicstexas.com/Ethics-Resources/Rules/Texas-Lawyer-s-Creed.aspx

     

    Accessibility Notice: Due to the complexity of the source of this document, it was created from scanned images. If you require assistance in accessing the information, please call 817-884-1457.