234th COURT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Pre-trial Procedures and Motion Practice
- HEARINGS Law day dockets are on Monday beginning at 10:15 AM and are in-person. Any party requesting an oral hearing can obtained a date through the E-Hearing System. Once you obtain a hearing date, and your e-hearing notice is emailed back to you, you will then file your notice of oral hearing and serve it on all counsel or pro se parties. The court strives to read every filing prior to the oral hearing, and thus would like to have as much lead time as possible to read motions and responses so that it may rule promptly at the hearing or very shortly thereafter. Please call the Court Clerk and all counsel when any hearing is passed.
- Submission Docket
- Temporary Injunctions
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.1.3 EMERGENCY HEARING: In order to receive an emergency hearing you must file an emergency motion which must provide a detailed description of why it is needed. The motion will be given to the Judge for her approval of the date and time for hearing. 2. MOTION 2.1 AGREED AND UNOPPOSED MOTIONSAgreed or unopposed motions do not have to be placed on the court’s oral hearing or submission docket. All unopposed or agreed motions should be titled as such. In addition, ALL continuance or reset motions (whether agreed, unopposed or opposed) MUST state what number continuance motion is being filed (i.e. “Plaintiff’s First” or “Defendant’s Second” or “Third Agreed Motion,” etc.). If a motion is actually agreed, the motion and order should contain signature blocks for all parties that are agreed to the relief requested, and should state “AGREED AS TO SUBSTANCE AND FORM AND ENTRY REQUESTED” above the signature block.CONTINUANCESFirst continuances may be granted for good cause or upon agreement of the parties if a motion for continuance is filed sufficiently in advance of the trial setting. If agreed, first continuances will not require a hearing unless after reviewing the motion the Court deems one necessary. The proposed order granting the continuance shall provide a space for the new trial date to be inserted by the Court. If the parties would like to amend the docket control order in addition to continuing the trial date, please note your request in the Motion for Continuance and include the statement that a new scheduling order shall be issued by the Court in the proposed order. Alternatively, an amended scheduling order may be submitted. Continuances after the third continuance must demonstrate substantial need for a delay of the trial setting and must be set for oral hearing whether agreed or opposed. 2.2 CERTIFICATES OF CONFERENCEA certificate of conference is required on all motions, pleas and special exceptions except:
- Summary Judgments
- Default Judgments
- Agreed Judgments
- Motions for voluntary dismissal or non-suit
- Post-verdict motions; or
- Motions involving service of citation
- DISCOVERY MOTIONS
- 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.
- SPECIFIC MOTION PROCEDURES
- Efforts taken to verify that defendant actually lives or works at the subject address;
- Each attempt at service, with date and time;
- Identity of persons who were present at the subject address and what was said;
- Identity of cars in the driveway or other indications that defendant resides at the subject address;
- Any other information that will give the Court assurance that the defendant will receive notice through the requested substituted service.
- 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.
- Trial SettingsAll cases are automatically scheduled for trial pursuant to a docket control order. If your case is a Level 3 case and you need special scheduling consideration (e.g., a longer discovery period, a shorter 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 joinder, pre-trial conference, or trial setting), you may do so either by Rule 11 agreement or by moving for leave of Court. Preferential settings will be granted only upon a showing of good cause (e.g., parties or witnesses reside outside the United States) and, absent other considerations, should be set for trial during the summer months with all parties waiving any vacation letters on file.
- Pre-trial Conferences
- Non-Jury Trials:
Follow the above guidelines for jury trial, but prepare and exchange proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law with all counsel and provide them to the judge. In addition, prepare a proposed form of judgment.
If you need more information on Bench or Jury Trials, Continuances, and DWOP please contact Lawanda Cornett.
You do need not appear in court to announce a settlement; a phone call to the court coordinator is sufficient or email from parties. Cases are dismissed for want of prosecution if no judgment is filed within time given after the court is notified of settlement (this time may be extended where necessary).
Settlements Involving Minor Children
A Guardian Ad Litem will be required for all settlements involving minor children. The parties are to submit an Agreed motion and order for appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem. The Court will then select the Guardian Ad Litem for that case, and will inform the parties of the Court’s decision. Once a Guardian Ad Litem has been appointed, the parties may contact the Court Clerk in order to obtain a Minor Settlement hearing date. At the time of the hearing, the parties are to present the proposed Judgment, as well as the Supreme Court ad litem fee report.
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