All parties must be prepared for trial when placed on the trial docket. The parties are notified in writing of the trial setting date and what number they are on the trial docket. The court coordinator will call all parties by 3:30 p.m. on the day before trial to let them know if they will be reached for trial or can be released. If a case is not reached, the coordinator will confer with the parties on a date to reset the trial.
MOTIONS FOR CONTINUANCE
Motions for Continuance must be filed in accordance with Local Rule 3.02 and must comply with Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 251, 252, 253 and/or 254. You may find the Tarrant County Local Rules here. To the extent of any conflict between the local rules and the rules set forth on this site, the rules on this site control.
An Agreed Continuance of a trial setting will generally be granted. Contact the court coordinator as soon as possible if you believe you have an Agreed Continuance.
EXPERT WITNESS CHALLENGES
Expert witness challenges should be filed as soon as practical and should be set for hearing at least a week before the trial setting.
The Court tries to accommodate all requests for preferential trial settings. A request for a preferential setting must be in writing and followed up by a phone call to the court coordinator for available dates. The Court looks at the age and complexity of the case as well as availability of the parties and witnesses when giving cases preferential settings.
PRETRIAL ORDERS AND MEDIATION
The Court does not automatically issue pretrial orders in cases. If a scheduling order is not agreed to by the parties and one party has requested a pretrial order, the Court will hold a scheduling conference before issuing a pretrial order. This is the same procedure for a Level 3 discovery case.
The Court requires pretrial mediation in most cases. If the parties have not mediated prior to requesting a trial setting, the Court will appoint a mediator when the case is set for trial. The Court will appoint a particular mediator or substitute a mediator upon agreement by the parties. The mediation order is sent to the parties along with a trial setting order. Parties can file an agreed objection to mediation if the parties do not believe mediation will be productive.
Not later than the morning of trial the parties should file with Clerk, exchange and provide the Court:
The proposed Jury Charge should be submitted to Traci Johnston,(email@example.com), the court reporter, not later than noon on the Friday for a Monday trial setting (or noon on Tuesday for Wednesday trials) by email or brought to trial on a flash drive and tendered to the court reporter not later than the beginning of voir dire.
MOTION IN LIMINE HEARING
Most are presented the day of voir dire, however, if the motion will take more than one hour, the attorneys should set a hearing on the motions in limine the week before trial.
The Court allows the attorneys wide latitude in questioning the venire during voir dire and does not have any set time period. Any challenges for cause that are not agreed to are made outside the presence of the jury panel after individual questions of the juror are asked at the bench. The attorneys are typically given 15-20 minutes to make peremptory strikes after challenges for cause are made.
The Court provides an Elmo, a projector and a screen. All audio/visual requests or arrangements to set up equipment brought by the parties are made through the bailiff, Freddie Weil.
During trial, parties can stay seated when they question witnesses and ask to approach the bench or witnesses as needed.
Non-attorney staff sitting at counsel table is permitted.
Please have exhibits pre-marked before trial or allow for enough time before trial to have exhibits marked so the trial is not delayed. The Court has no preference on whether letter or numbers are used to mark exhibits. The Court requires that the parties exchange their exhibits and confer prior to trial on exhibits that can be stipulated to or require a ruling by the Court.
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