1. Uncontested docket
Agreed or unopposed motions may be submitted to the Court and will be ruled on by submission without need for an oral hearing.
2. Dismissal docket
The Court will institute a dismissal docket per the Local Rules. No case shall be referred to the dismissal docket that has a current Docket Control Order or trial setting in place.
3. Docket Control Orders
The Court has a strong preference for Docket Control Orders in any civil, non-family case. Within 30 days of the filing of an answer or other responsive pleading by a defendant, the parties shall submit an agreed Docket Control Order or, if they cannot agree, a proposed Docket Control Order. Failure to do so will result in placement of the case on the dismissal docket. Before submitting a docket control order, please contact my Court Administrator, Shirley Cleere, concerning available trial dates.
The Court will hold hearings in-person and virtually as requested by the parties. The Court will likely set aside certain times each week for parties and/or attorneys to appear virtually, but for now, the Court will set either type of hearing in non-jury weeks on any day upon request. All pre-trial hearings will be in person except upon request by a party due to exigent circumstances.
5. Pre-Trial Hearings. File all documents for Pretrial Conference 10 days before the Pretrial Conference. All parties must file all motions in limine, list of witnesses and exhibits, proposed jury questions, and proposed jury instructions and definitions (if jury trial). The parties should submit a joint proposed jury charge (questions, instructions, and definitions) for all matters agreed upon in the court’s charge and then separately file those items in the charge to which the parties cannot agree.
6. Best practices for motions. Please be concise. Include a summary up front of the relief you seek and why you are entitled to it. Also, please include a proposed order with your motion.
7. Courtroom decorum and practices.
a. Lawyers in my courtroom should proceed as professionals and consistent with the Texas Lawyer’s Creed.
b. Lawyers should not talk over one another.
c. Lawyers should also not refer to one another in an argument or address one another when making an argument.
d. Lawyers should be careful when stating that opposing counsel has misrepresented something or is being “disingenuous.” Those are serious allegations that should not be made lightly.
e. Hearings in my courtroom are not a tennis match, nor are they a free-for-all. The party raising a motion will proceed first and will be allowed rebuttal after the non-movant’s argument. The non-movant will be allowed a response. No further arguments are allowed unless the Court asks a question, nor should counsel interrupt opposing counsel’s arguments.
f. Only one lawyer per side shall speak on any given motion or objection.
g. The Court’s ruling, if made from the bench, is not an invitation to make further arguments.
8. Pro Se Litigants
Pro se litigants (parties without an attorney) are expected to comply with all rules of procedure and evidence applicable to attorneys. Please refer to the Court’s Documents page for useful resources.