11th DISTRICT COURT PROCEDURES
- HEARING LOCATION
The 11th District Court is currently sharing space with the 55th District Court. The 11th District Court conducts oral hearings on Mondays in the 11th District Court. When the courtroom is unavailable, the Court may conduct hearings in other locations, such as other courtrooms, the jury room, or chambers. Contact the clerk for specific locations.
- CONTACTING THE COURT
For matters relating to hearings and motions, contact the Clerk of the Court: 832-927-2600
Contact the clerk for the status on any agreed or unopposed orders submitted to the Court.
To determine whether the Court has ruled on a motion, please check the case docket sheet website for any comments or contact the Court for status.
For matters relating to trials, contact: Jackie Struss
For matters relating to transcripts, contact: Mark Miller
The Rules of Civil Procedure require litigants to electronically file documents and pleadings with the Harris County District Clerk. Litigants need prior authorization from the Court before hand-delivering or faxing documents directly to the Court. The District Clerk Clerk will not accept documents delivered directly to the court for filing. Litigants are responsible for ensuring that documents become part of the C by e-filing the documents.
3.1 E-FILING INSTRUCTIONS
Type the entire title of your pleading in the description field.
Do not split your documents. Clearly label all exhibits.
Do not attach proposed orders as exhibits.
4.1 CERTIFICATES OF CONFERENCE
A certificate of conference is required on all motions, pleas, and special exceptions except for:
summary judgments; default judgments;
motions for voluntary dismissal or non-suit; post-verdict motions; and
motions involving the service of citation.
The movant must confer person-to-person with opposing counsel before the Court will consider a motion that requires a conference. The Court will pass motions that do not have a certificate stating (1) that the movant has actually talked to opposing counsel or (2) why counsel has not been able to discuss the motion.
A certificate of conference stating that you sent a letter or email to opposing counsel and received no response is not a proper certificate of the conference.
File orders with all motions and responses. The Court will pass motions filed without proposed orders. On occasion, the Court may require parties to email longer or more complex proposed orders in Word format to the court clerk.
When submitting a proposed order after a hearing, include a cover letter and indicate whether the order is agreed to as to the form.
4.3 AGREED MOTIONS
The Court may hear agreed or unopposed motions by submission. All unopposed or agreed motions should be titled as such.
Agreed motions must contain the appropriate signatures. Unopposed motions must contain a certificate of the conference.
If the Court denies an agreed or unopposed motion, a litigant may request a subsequent oral hearing on that motion.
4.4 MOTION RESPONSES
E-file motion responses at least 48 hours before the hearing and include a proposed order.
4.5 COURTESY COPIES
The Court accepts courtesy copies of motions over 15 pages. Courtesy copies should include the motion and all exhibits. If possible, include any response and responsive exhibits in the same binder.
4.6 DISCOVERY MOTIONS
The Court expects that parties will make every effort to resolve all discovery issues without court intervention. If such attempts prove unsuccessful, litigants may request a hearing on a motion to compel. The complaining party should file a motion containing:
a brief description of the dispute;
the date, time, and place the parties have had out-of-court discovery discussions;
the names of all counsel participating in the discussions; and
a copy or verbatim reproduction of the discovery requests and responses at issue.
After filing the motion, call the Court about a hearing. The Court will then determine the need for a briefing and/or a conference on the matter.
Proposed orders should list each discovery issue separately.
Both the movant and non-movant need to submit a proposed order.
4.7 SUMMARY JUDGMENTS
Motions can be set at the first available hearing 21 days after the motion is filed. Contact the court clerk for a hearing date.
Do not wait until the last minute to file your motion or request a hearing. (See Texas Rules of Court 166a(c) for notice requirements.)
Summary judgments must be set for hearing at least one month before trial. Late-filed summary judgments will not
For complex cases, the Court may require the parties to submit a proposed jury charge before considering the summary judgment.
Proposed orders granting summary judgments should include damages and, if applicable, attorney’s fees. The motion should show how damages are calculated and provide supporting evidence. For example, in a case involving a breach of a
credit card agreement, the plaintiff should provide evidence showing how the plaintiff calculated the amount due by the debtor.
File motions for continuances as early as practicable and state whether the client consents to the request.
Unless the Court deems it necessary, hearings are not required for the first or second agreed motion for continuance. The Court will not automatically grant joint motions for continuance after the second request. Third motions for continuance must contain sufficient detail, demonstrate substantial need, and be set for hearing even if agreed.
If the parties agree to a summer setting, they must also agree to waive vacation letters.
Any lead counsel who is actively engaged in the litigation of a matter may seek an automatic continuance of up to 180 days for any of the following situations:
the birth or adoption of a child;
care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; and
medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.
4.9 DEFAULT JUDGMENTS
Movants must attach all evidence supporting the motion and damages to the motion for default or the Court will pass the hearing.
The Court sets default judgments on the oral hearing docket.
The movant must serve all defaulting parties with the motion, proposed judgment, and notice of the hearing under TRCP 21(a).
When proving damages in a motion for default judgment, the movant should provide evidence to support the damage calculation and show how the damages were calculated.
4.10 SUBSTITUTED-SERVICE MOTIONS
All motions for Substituted Service under Rule 106 must be accompanied by an affidavit that:
describes the efforts taken to verify that the defendant actually lives or works at the subject address;
lists at least four attempts of service at different times of day with the specific dates and times;
details the identity of the person(s) present at the subject address and states what was said;
Provides the identity of the owners of any cars in the driveway and includes any other indications that the defendant resides at the subject’s address.
File an order with all Rule 106 motions. Movants can find a form order here.
4.11 PROTECTIVE ORDERS
Protective Orders containing a provision stating that any documents filed in the records of the court shall be sealed and not open for viewing by the general public must be changed to comply with Rule 76a of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. Litigants can find a form of Agreed Protective Order here.
4.12 MOTION TO WITHDRAW
Motions to withdraw as attorney of record require strict compliance with Rule 10 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. Motions in which the party will be pro se after the attorney withdraws must include:
a statement regarding consultation with the party regarding the motion; and
current deadlines and trial settings.
Orders on motions to withdraw must include contact information for the pro se
The Court does not generally grant motions to withdraw that is filed within 60 days of a dispositive event, such as a trial setting or a hearing on a motion for summary judgment.
If the withdrawing attorney represents a corporation, she/he must notify the corporate party that:
Corporations cannot proceed pro se in Texas courts; and
That if the corporation has not obtained counsel within 30 days of the order of withdrawal, either its claims may be dismissed if it is the plaintiff or the pleadings struck and a default judgment may be entered if it is the defendant.
Motions to substitute counsel must indicate whether the attorney being replaced has agreed to the substitution and have the appropriate certificates of conference and service.
4.13 MOTIONS TO RETAIN
After the Court has retained a case three times or more, the movant must set the motion to retain for an oral hearing or the Court will dismiss the case.
4.14 SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS
Movants must either (1) attach a copy of the pleading being excepted to (unless the exception is only to the amount of damages sought) or (2) state verbatim the paragraph being excepted to. Proposed orders should list each exception separately.
4.16 MOTION FOR SEVERANCE
Motions for severance must be set for oral hearing and state the basis for the severance.
The order of severance must include the following information: Style of the case;
Case number, i.e. 2006-32041-A;
Parties to be included in the severed case; Documents to be included in the severed case;
Whether the severed order disposes of the severed case or if the case shall remain active; and
The party paying for the costs of court and severance.
5.1 YOUNG LAWYERS
The Court strongly encourages the lawyers to provide opportunities for young lawyers (i.e., lawyers practicing for less than seven years) to participate in hearings and trials, particularly when the young lawyer drafted or contributed significantly to the underlying motion or response. Providing substantive speaking opportunities to young lawyers benefits the profession, the lawyers, and the clients. The Court encourages all lawyers practicing before it to keep this goal in mind.
5.2 ORAL HEARING DOCKET
All motions that are not agreed upon or unopposed are set on the Court’s oral hearing docket.
The Court conducts oral hearings on Mondays. Call the clerk for a hearing date and time. Do not request a hearing in your motion.
Parties must file and serve the notice of the hearing along with the motion and order within 48 hours after obtaining the setting, or the Court may pass the setting without further notice.
Movants must provide ten-day notice for hearings.
When passing a hearing, call the court clerk and all parties as soon as possible.
5.3 TEMPORARY INJUNCTIONS
Temporary injunctions are set on Mondays at 1:30 p.m.
Before scheduling hearings, movants should call the Court and advise (1) regarding readiness to proceed with the hearing and (2) the estimated length of the hearing. Depending on trial schedules and the length of the hearing, the Court may find it necessary to extend the TRO and reschedule the temporary-injunction hearing. Parties should not bring witnesses to court until checking with the court clerk.
5.4 Minor Settlements
The Court must approve the disposition of all cases involving minors.
In motions requesting the appointment of a guardian ad litem, please include a brief description of the nature of the suit and the alleged damages. The motion must advise the Court if the guardian or attorney ad litem should be fluent in a language other than English. The Court will appoint ad litems based on the
5.5 EXPEDITED HEARINGS
Any party requesting an expedited or emergency hearing must file a detailed request.
5.6 APPEARANCE BY PHONE
The Court allows attorneys in non-evidentiary hearings to appear by phone; please contact the Clerk to make arrangements.
If more than one person wants to appear by phone at a scheduled hearing, the attorneys must all conference in on one line and then call the Court. The Court will not arrange the conference.
5.7 FAXES AND EMAILS
The Rules of Civil Procedure require pleadings and documents to be e-filed. Do not fax or email documents to the Court with express authorization. Faxing and emailing does not replace the e-filing requirement. The clerk may destroy unauthorized faxed or emailed documents.
File and exchange exhibit lists, motions in limine, deposition offers, and proposed jury charges or proposed findings of facts and conclusions of law with the Court one week before trial.
Cases are automatically set for trial when a defendant files an answer. If the Court does not reach a case during the first setting, it will be reset within 2 to 4 months.
The 11th District Court does not have a docket call. Do not appear unless you have been assigned to trial. All cases are on call for the entire two-week docket.
6.1 STATUS AND PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCES
If a party anticipates needing more than 36 potential jurors for a jury panel, the party must set a status conference with the Court at least 60 days in advance.
On the day of trial, the Court allots 30 minutes per side for pre-trial matters.
If a party anticipates needing more than 30 minutes for pre-trial, the party must schedule a status conference at least 60 days in advance so the Court can schedule enough time for pre-trial matters, including expert-witness challenges, rulings on exhibits, and rulings on deposition excerpts.
6.2 MOTIONS IN LIMINE
The Court has issued a standing motion in limine for all cases. For case specific motions in limine, the parties must exchange their motions before the pre-trial conference. Limit your motion in limine to the specific facts and circumstances in your case.
6.3 EXPERT WITNESS CHALLENGES
Parties must file expert witness challenges by the deadline set out in the docket control order. Parties shall set all motions to challenge experts for hearing before the trial date.
6.4 JURY CHARGE
The parties must file their proposed jury charge and email the proposed charge in Word format to Mark Miller.
6.5 VOIR DIRE
Time for voir dire depends on the complexity of the case.
If the parties want to employ a jury questionnaire, they need to discuss the matter with the Court at a status conference before the first day of trial.
Counsel should not ask questions to commit the juror.
The Court discourages argument during voir dire and will sustain objections to argument.
Counsel should challenge jurors outside the presence of the panel and the juror.
6.6 FINDINGS OF FACTS AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Parties should file their proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law with the Court. Parties should also email proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law in Word form to Mark Miller or the Court clerk.
For more information about the 11th Civil Court Follow the link below: