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Homepage for the Harris County Civil Courts

Court Procedures

Motion Dockets

Off-Docket Motions

Trial Dockets

Settlements

Entry Docket

Dismissal for Want of Prosecution (DWOP Docket)

Attorney Vacation Requests

Courtroom Audio/Video Equipment

Useful Links


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Motion Dockets

Oral Hearing Dockets:
Tuesdays at 9:00 a.m.

  1. Minimum of 7 business days' notice is required.
  2. Any party needing an oral hearing must file a written notice of oral hearing and serve all counsel and pro se parties with same.
  3. Records are taken by request only.

Upon arrival to court:

  1. Check in with the clerk in the courtroom starting at 8:30 a.m.
  2. Inform the clerk if you have an appearance in another court and in what court so we can locate you if necessary.
  3. The court allows 10 minutes for late appearance.
  4. Complete a Record Request Form and return to the court reporter prior to docket call if you would like to request a record be taken of your hearing.

Occupational Driver’s License Hearings:
Wednesdays at 9:00 a.m., with the clerk's approval..
The following items are required:

  1. Written notice of oral hearing, Notice of Oral Hearing ODL.
  2. You must provide the County Attorney's office with a five-day written notice of hearing whereupon your driving record will be provided directly to the court.
  3. SALCE - alcohol and drug evaluation results,for alcohol and drug cases only.
  4. Current Insurance - 6 months paid in full is required if your license has been suspended for driving without insurance.
  5. Copies of your SR22 and your SALCE, if applicable, must be provided to the Court no later than the Friday preceding your hearing date to be kept in the Clerk's file. If you do not bring copies of these items, your hearing will be reset.
  6. Occupational License Case Information Sheet must be filled out with the notice of hearing prior to hearing (see the Occupational Information Instructions).

Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO)
Please comply with the following:

  1. Contact the clerk before coming to the courthouse.
  2. A two-hour notice to the opposing party by phone, fax and/or in writing is required.
  3.  Proof of your attempts, if unable to contact the opposing side, must be provided to the Court.

Minor Settlement
Hearings must be set on the regular motions docket upon the filing of a notice of hearing with the Clerk's office.

Homeowner's Association (HOA) Cases

  1. All HOA cases must be set for an oral hearing.
  2. A notice of oral hearing must be served by personal service (hand-delivery) to the Defendant.
  3. Proof of notice of oral hearing must be provided to the Court.

Motions to Withdraw as Attorney of Record
Attorneys moving to withdraw must comply with the following:

1) Notice of hearing served on all parties

2) A statement of the particular circumstances and disciplinary rules requiring withdrawal. Confidential matters may be addressed under seal in accordance with TRCP 76a.

3) Certificate of last known address and telephone number of the client

4) Properly serve the client with the following:

a. Notice of oral hearing or submission

b. A letter from the attorney of record to the client specifying the following:

* The attorney is withdrawing.

* The client is deemed to have knowledge of and is required to abide by the TEXAS RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE if the client chooses to proceed pro se.

* All notices from the Court sent to the client’s current address will be deemed to have been received unless the client notifies the Court of any change of address.


5) In addition to the items listed above, if the client is a corporation, the attorney must notify the client that a corporation cannot proceed pro se.

6) If the Motion to Withdraw is agreed between attorney and client, refer to Agreed Motions.

Contested Judgments
Contested judgments must be set for oral hearing on the regular motions docket upon the filing of a notice of hearing with the Clerk's office.

Submission Docket
Fridays at 8:30 a.m. (10-day written notice to the clerk is required).
Any motion may be set on the Submission Docket with the exception of those requiring an oral hearing, as listed under Oral Hearings.

Motions for Summary Judgment
Motions for Summary Judgment require 21 days' written notice. The Court will consider requests for oral hearing on the date of submission.


Off-Docket Motions

Agreed Motions
Agreed motions do not require a hearing or to be placed on the Submission Docket.  Simply file the motion as “agreed” or “joint” along with the appropriate documents with County Clerk’s office for consideration by the Court. The court may ask for a hearing if necessary.
It is not necessary to contact the clerks regarding off-docket motions
.

Motions for Default Judgment
Motions for Default Judgment do not require a hearing.
The following must be included in your motion:

  1. Affidavit proving up damages (include the last statement or invoice)..
  2. Affidavit of attorney’s fees including some estimate of time or description of the actions taken on the case. On contingencies, also state the percentage of the contract.
  3. Certificate of last-known address
  4. Non-military affidavit with a copy of the search results from www.militarylocator.com, printed within 30 days

If any of the foregoing is missing or if service is not perfected, your case will be put on the entry docket 30 days out to allow time to submit the proper documents. If proper documents are not received on or before the entry date, your case will be dismissed.
It is the responsibility of the movant to follow up on motions for default to check the status.

Rule 106 Motions for Substituted Service

Rule 106 motions must be filed with the Clerk's office and do not require a hearing.
All Rule 106 motions for substituted service must be accompanied by an affidavit that includes the following:

  1. All efforts taken to verify that the Defendant actually lives or works at the subject address
  2. Each attempt at service, including the date and time
  3. The identity of persons who were present at the subject address and what was said
  4. The identity of cars in the driveway or other indications that the defendant resides or works at the subject address.

Motions to Appear Pro Hac Vice
All pro hac vice motions must comply with TEX. GOV'T CODE § 82.0361.


Trial Dockets

Non-Jury Trials
Mondays at 9:00 a.m.

  1. Cases are tried the day they are set. There are no docket positions. Cases are heard according to the length of trial estimated by the parties.
  2. If you need more than 30 minutes to present your case, please notify the trial coordinator upon check-in. Your case will be reset for either 1:00 p.m. the same afternoon or for an agreed upon date in the near future.
  3. Always prepare a proposed judgment for the Court.
  4. Records are taken by request only. A Record Request Form must be completed and returned to the court reporter prior to docket call.

Jury Trials
First and third Monday of each month; two-week trial docket.

Docket Calls

Docket calls are made by phone conference between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on the Wednesday immediately preceding the trial date. A date will be assigned, and your docket position will be determined for the two-week period.

  • Keep your contact numbers up-to-date with the Clerk's office
  • Be on stand-by for your phone call and/or designate a person in your office to look at your calendar for scheduling purposes. If you are not available, the court will pick the assigned date of trial for your case.
  • Please do not call the court. If you do not receive a call by 4:00 p.m., your case was not reached, and it will be reset to the next available jury trial docket.
  • If the Wednesday is a court holiday or a “dead week,” docket call will be held on the Tuesday before the two-week trial docket or on the Wednesday before a dead week.


Pretrial Matters
If your case is assigned, you are required to appear for a pretrial conference on Friday at 9am preceding your ASSIGNED TRIAL DATE. If you have issues that may require more than 15 minutes, you must contact the trial coordinator for a special setting.
The Court appreciates all efforts to expedite trial. The following must be exchanged and discussed among parties prior to pretrial hearing:

  1. Exhibits - Agreed upon exhibits will be pre-admitted. A copy of your exhibit list is required for the judge, the court reporter and opposing counsel. All exhibits must be pre-marked with inadmissible information redacted (e.g., Social Security Nos., account numbers, insurance information, etc.).
    Any exhibit with multiple pages must be stapled or bound in some way. If you have more than 20 exhibits, please put them in a binder with tabs separating each exhibit. Should you have any questions regarding exhibits, you may contact the Court Reporter (Gina_Oliver@ccl.hctx.net)
  2. Motions in limine - please do not include the Texas Rules in your motions in limine.
  3. Deposition excerpts or edited videotapes -- designations of page and line numbers. Copies of designations and either a condensed or electronic copy of the transcript must be provided to the court reporter prior to trial.
  4. Jury Charges - the parties are responsible for editing their jury charge during trial. You may email your proposed jury charge to Grace_Cantada@ccl.hctx.net prior to your assigned trial date. You may also bring it on a CD or flash drive, in Word format only. See the Jury Charge Template.

Voir Dire
Generally, the court will give each party 15-20 minutes to do voir dire.
Parties will be given the jury list to review as soon as it becomes available.

Record
Voir dire and motions in limine are generally not on the record. If you need either of these on the record, you must notify the court reporter in advance.
All other proceedings of a jury trial will be on the record unless otherwise agreed upon by counsel and the Court.

Challenges for Cause
Challenges for cause are handled at the bench on an individual basis, outside the presence of the other panel members.

Preemptory Strikes
10 minutes is allowed to exercise strikes.

Bench Conferences
Bench conferences are generally conducted with the jury present in the courtroom using white noise and will not be recorded by the court reporter unless specifically requested by counsel.

Witnesses
Witnesses should be instructed by counsel regarding courtroom decorum.

Post-Verdict Motions
Post-verdict motions and/or judgments that are not agreed to must be set for a hearing on the regular motions docket. A notice of hearing must be filed with the clerks.

Preferential Settings

  1. May be requested through the trial coordinator upon agreement of both parties
  2. Cases requiring more than one day will need a preferential setting.
  3. Jury Docket call does not apply to cases that are preferentially set.
  4. You must appear for a pretrial conference on Friday at 9:00 am on the Friday preceding your trial date.

Trial Continuances
Trial continuances should be filed as soon as the grounds for such a motion are reasonably apparent and filed no later than noon on the Thursday before the trial date.
The motion must be very specific about the grounds for the continuance and should state the client's knowledge of and consent to the requested motion.
First-time requests for uncontested continuances where service is obtained will be granted automatically. Your motion must include the following:

  1. Certificate of service
  2. Certificate of conference

Joint, agreed or unopposed motions for continuance are not binding on the Court.

Continuances other than the first will need to be set by submission for the court's consideration.


Settlements/Agreed Judgments/Non-Suits

Upon settlement of any case, Plaintiff's counsel or Plaintiff pro se must immediately notify the trial coordinator in writing and must serve all parties with same.

Cases that have settled will be placed on the Entry Docket 30 days out to allow time for parties to submit final documents. The court will allow only one extension of the entry date.


After a case has been announced as settled, it will be placed on inactive status; therefore, if you need the case to be put back on the trial docket, you must submit a request in writing.


Entry Docket

Friday at 10:00 a.m. (NO APPEARANCE REQUIRED)
Final judgments, Plaintiff's non-suit or dismissal filed on or before the entry date will be signed by the Court. This is not a hearing but a deadline for you to submit/file final paperwork.

Contested Judgments - refer to "Oral Hearings."


Dismissal for Want of Prosecution (DWOP Docket)

Failure to perfect service within 180 days of the filing of a lawsuit subjects the case to dismissal for want of prosecution, in accordance with TRCP 165(a).


Attorney Vacation Requests

To assert vacation, you must comply with the following:

  1. Vacation letters must be timely filed with the District Clerk's office.
  2. Motions for continuance due to vacation must be filed with the County Clerk's office and served on all parties.
  3. Include in your motion a copy of your file-marked vacation letter and your case number, and serve all parties with same. If you have multiple cases, a separate motion for each case is required.

Please refer to Trial Continuances.
The Court will honor vacation requests that are timely filed.


Courtroom Audio/Video Equipment

All courtrooms have state of the art audio/VIDEO equipment, including an ELMO (document camera), computer inputs, projectors, TV screens, AND VCR & DVD players. Attorneys are encouraged to use the ELMO to present exhibits to the jury. If you are unfamiliar with its use, arrange with the bailiff to come to the courtroom early and learn. Please refer to the attached Web link for detailed instructions on use of the audiovisual equipment:
http://www.justex.net/Courts/Civil/CivilTechnology.aspx


Useful Links

For proper filing procedures, please visit the County Clerk’s Web site:
http://www.cclerk.hctx.net/Home.aspx

Court Holidays and Dead Weeks:
http://www.justex.net/FAQ.aspx

Downloadable Forms
http://www.cclerk.hctx.net/Civil/Downloadable_Forms.aspx

Ordering copies
http://www.cclerk.hctx.net/Civil/Ordering.aspx


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Court Procedures

Harris County Civil Courts