Law:Title 2. Trial, Judgment, And Appeal. Subtitle B. Trial Matters from Chapter 30. Miscellaneous Provisions (Texas)

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Subtitle B. Trial Matters

Contents

Chapter 30. Miscellaneous Provisions

Section  30.001.  Instrument To Waive Service Or Confess Judgment.

In an instrument executed before suit is brought, a person may not accept service and waive process, enter an appearance in open court, or confess a judgment.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.



Section  30.002.  Expiration Of Judge's Term; Death Of Judge.

(a) If a district or county judge's term of office expires before the adjournment of the court term at which a case may be tried or during the period prescribed for filing a statement of facts and a bill of exceptions or findings of fact and conclusions of law, the judge may approve the statement of facts and bill of exceptions or file findings of fact and conclusions of law in the case.

(b)  If a district or county judge dies before he approves the statement of facts and bill of exceptions or files findings of fact and conclusions of law in a case pending at his death, they may be approved or filed by the judge's successor as provided by Rule 18, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.



Section  30.003.  Legislative Continuance.

(a) This section applies to any criminal or civil suit, including matters of probate, and to any matters ancillary to the suit that require action by or the attendance of an attorney, including appeals but excluding temporary restraining orders.

(b)  Except as provided by Subsections (c) and (c-1), at any time within 30 days of a date when the legislature is to be in session, at any time during a legislative session, or when the legislature sits as a constitutional convention, the court on application shall continue a case in which a party applying for the continuance or the attorney for that party is a member or member-elect of the legislature and will be or is attending a legislative session. The court shall continue the case until 30 days after the date on which the legislature adjourns.

(c)  Except as provided by Subsection (c-1), if the attorney for a party to the case is a member or member-elect of the legislature who was employed on or after the 30th day before the date on which the suit is set for trial, the continuance is discretionary with the court.

(c-1)  If the attorney for a party to any criminal case is a member or member-elect of the legislature who was employed on or after the 15th day before the date on which the suit is set for trial, the continuance is discretionary with the court.

(d)  The party seeking the continuance must file with the court an affidavit stating the grounds for the continuance. The affidavit is proof of the necessity for a continuance. The affidavit need not be corroborated.

(e)  If the member of the legislature is an attorney for a party, the affidavit must contain a declaration that it is the attorney's intention to participate actively in the preparation or presentation of the case and that the attorney has not taken the case for the purpose of obtaining a continuance under this section.

(f)  The continuance provided by Subsection (b) is one of right and may not be charged against the party receiving it on any subsequent application for continuance.

(g)  If the attorney for a party seeking a continuance under this section is a member or member-elect of the legislature, the attorney shall file a copy of the application for a continuance with the Texas Ethics Commission. The copy must be sent to the commission not later than the third business day after the date on which the attorney files the application with the court.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 304, Sec. 3.13, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 9, Sec. 1, eff. April 24, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 249, Sec. 5.09, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  30.004.  Notice To Attorney General For Certain Suits.

(a) This section applies to a civil case in which:

(1)  the state is named as a party;

(2)  an agency in the executive or legislative department is named as a party; or

(3)  a party may be represented by the attorney general as authorized by Chapter 104.

(b)  On the filing of any petition in a case subject to this section, a copy of the petition shall be mailed to the attorney general at the attorney general's office in Austin, Texas, by United States Postal Service certified mail, return receipt requested.

(c)  Mailing notice as required by Subsection (b) does not satisfy any other jurisdictional requirement relating to service of process on a state officer, board, commission, agency, or institution that is a named party in a court proceeding.

(d)  Failure to give notice in a case in which notice is required by Subsection (b) results in any default judgment in the case being set aside without costs.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 167, Sec. 3.06(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1987.



Section  30.005.  Religious Holy Day.

(a) In this section:

(1)  "Religious organization" means an organization that meets the standards for qualifying as a religious organization under Section 11.20, Tax Code.

(2)  "Religious holy day" means a day on which the tenets of a religious organization prohibit its members from participating in secular activities, such as court proceedings.

(b)  If a party or an attorney representing a party in a civil action is required to appear at a court proceeding on a religious holy day observed by the party or attorney, the court shall continue the civil action.

(c)  A party or an attorney representing a party seeking a continuance must file with the court an affidavit stating:

(1)  the grounds for the continuance; and

(2)  that the party or attorney holds religious beliefs that prohibit him from taking part in a court proceeding on the day for which the continuance is sought.

(d)  An affidavit filed under Subsection (c) of this section is proof of the facts stated and need not be corroborated.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 825, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Renumbered from Sec. 30.004 by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 2, Sec. 16.01(1), eff. Aug. 28, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 815, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.



Section   30.006.  Certain Law Enforcement Agency Records Not Subject To Discovery.

(a) In this section, "law enforcement agency" means a governmental agency that employs a peace officer as defined under Article 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure.

(b)  This section does not apply to an action in which a law enforcement agency is a party.

(c)  Except as provided by Subsection (d), a court in a civil action may not order discovery from a nonparty law enforcement agency of information, records, documents, evidentiary materials, and tangible things if:

(1)  the information, records, documents, evidentiary materials, or tangible things deal with:

(A)  the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime; or

(B)  an investigation by the nonparty law enforcement agency that does not result in conviction or deferred adjudication; and

(2)  the release of the information, records, documents, evidentiary materials, or tangible things would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of criminal acts.

(d)  On motion of a party, the court may order discovery from a nonparty law enforcement agency of information, records, documents, evidentiary materials, and tangible things described by Subsection (c) if the court determines, after in camera inspection, that:

(1)  the discovery sought is relevant; and

(2)  there is a specific need for the discovery.

(e)  This section does not apply to:

(1)  a report of an accident under Chapter 550, Transportation Code; and

(2)  photographs, field measurements, scene drawings, and accident reconstruction done in conjunction with the investigation of the underlying accident.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 679, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  30.007.  Production Of Financial Institution Records.

Civil discovery of a customer record maintained by a financial institution is governed by Section 59.006, Finance Code.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 914, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 344, Sec. 7.001, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  30.008.  Demand For Jury Trial In Justice Court; Failure To Appear.

(a) A justice court may order a party who demands a jury trial in a justice court and who fails to appear for the trial to pay the costs incurred for impaneling the jury.

(b)  The justice court may release a party from the obligation to pay costs under this section for good cause.

(c)  An order issued by a justice court under this section may be enforced by contempt as prescribed by Section 21.002(c), Government Code.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 122, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Renumbered from Civil Practice and Remedies Code Sec. 30.007 by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 31.01(4), eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  30.009.  Mistrial In Justice Court Or Municipal Court.

If a jury in a trial in a justice court or a municipal court is discharged without having rendered a verdict, the cause may be tried again as soon as practicable.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1005, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Renumbered from Civil Practice and Remedies Code Sec. 30.007 by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 31.01(5), eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  30.010.  Personal Identifying Information Privileged From Discovery By Inmate.

(a) Personal identifying information pertaining to an individual, including the individual's home address, home telephone number, and social security account number, is privileged from discovery by an individual who is imprisoned or confined in any correctional facility if the individual to whom the information pertains is:

(1)  an employee of any correctional facility; or

(2)  related within the first degree by consanguinity or affinity to an individual who is an employee of any correctional facility.

(b)  Personal identifying information that is privileged under this section may be discovered by an individual who is imprisoned or confined in a correctional facility only if:

(1)  the incarcerated individual shows good cause to the court for the discovery of the information; and

(2)  the court renders an order that authorizes discovery of the information.

(c)  In this section, "correctional facility" has the meaning assigned by Section 1.07(a), Penal Code.

(d)  Notwithstanding Section 22.004, Government Code, the supreme court may not amend or adopt rules in conflict with this section.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 302, Sec. 2, eff. June 5, 1995. Renumbered from Civil Practice and Remedies Code Sec. 30.07 by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 31.01(6), eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  30.011.  Electronic Subpoena Application.

In addition to any other procedure permitted under state law or by court rule, an application for issuance of a subpoena may be made by electronic means.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 614, Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 1999.



Section  30.012.  Use Of Communication Equipment In Certain Proceedings.

(a) With the agreement of the parties, and subject to Subsection (b), a trial judge may order that a hearing of a preliminary matter or witness testimony at trial may be conducted by electronic means, including satellite transmission, closed-circuit television transmission, or any other method of two-way electronic communication that is available to the parties, approved by the court, and capable of visually and audibly recording the proceedings.

(b)  Witness testimony at trial may be conducted by electronic means only if the witness is deposed before the commencement of the trial.

(c)  A court that allows a transmission made under this section shall consider it accurate and include it in the record of the case, unless the court determines otherwise.

(d)  A party to a transmission made under this section that is not in court:

(1)  shall provide at the party's own expense any equipment that is compatible with the equipment used in court; and

(2)  may record the proceedings at the party's own expense.

(e)  A copy of a proceeding videotaped by a court under this section may be obtained from the clerk of the court on payment of a reasonable amount to cover the cost of producing the copy.

(f)  Expenses incurred by a court in conducting a proceeding or recording a transmission under this section shall be assessed and collected as court costs.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 788, Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2001.



Section 30.013.  Confidential Identity In Actions Involving Sexual Abuse Of A Minor.

(a) In this section:

(1)  "Confidential identity" means:

(A)  the use of a pseudonym; and

(B)  the absence of any other identifying information, including address, telephone number, and social security number.

(2)  "Plaintiff" means:

(A)  an individual younger than 18 years of age seeking recovery of damages or other relief; and

(B)  the parents or legal guardian of the individual.

(b)  This section applies only to a civil action against a defendant in which a plaintiff seeks recovery of damages or other relief based on conduct described as a felony in the following sections of the Penal Code:

(1)  Section 22.011 (sexual assault); or

(2)  Section 22.021 (aggravated sexual assault).

(c)  Except as otherwise provided by this section, in an action to which this section applies, the court shall:

(1)  make it known to the plaintiff as early as possible in the proceedings of the action that the plaintiff may use a confidential identity in relation to the action;

(2)  allow a plaintiff to use a confidential identity in all petitions, filings, and other documents presented to the court;

(3)  use the confidential identity in all of the court's proceedings and records relating to the action, including any appellate proceedings; and

(4)  maintain the records relating to the action in a manner that protects the confidentiality of the plaintiff.

(d)  In a suit to which this section applies, only the following persons are entitled to know the true identifying information about the plaintiff:

(1)  the judge;

(2)  a party to the action;

(3)  the attorney representing a party to the action; and

(4)  a person authorized by a written order of a court specific to that person.

(e)  The court shall order that a person entitled to know the true identifying information under Subsection (d) may not divulge that information to anyone without a written order of the court.  A court shall hold a person who violates the order in contempt.

(f)  Notwithstanding Section 22.004, Government Code, the supreme court may not amend or adopt rules in conflict with this section.

(g)  A plaintiff is not required to use a confidential identity as provided by this section.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 559, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 30.014.  Pleadings Must Contain Partial Identification Information.

(a) In a civil action filed in a district court, county court, or statutory county court, each party or the party's attorney shall include in its initial pleading:

(1)  the last three numbers of the party's driver's license number, if the party has been issued a driver's license; and

(2)  the last three numbers of the party's social security number, if the party has been issued a social security number.

(b)  A court may, on its own motion or the motion of a party, order that an initial pleading be amended to contain the information listed under Subsection (a) if the court determines that the pleading does not contain that information.  A court may find a party in contempt if the party does not amend the pleading as ordered by the court under this subsection.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 143, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  30.015.  Provision Of Current Address Of Party In Civil Action.

(a) In a civil action filed in a district court, county court, statutory county court, or statutory probate court, each party or the party's attorney must provide the clerk of the court with written notice of the party's name and current residence or business address.

(b)  The notice required by Subsection (a) may not be required from any party or party's attorney if such party has not appeared or answered in the civil action.

(c)  The notice required by Subsection (a) must be provided at the time the party files its initial pleading with the court or not later than the seventh day after the date the clerk of the court requests the information.

(d)  If the party's address changes during the course of a civil action, the party or the party's attorney must provide the clerk of the court with written notice of the party's new address.

(e)  If the party or the party's attorney fails to provide the notice required by Subsection (a), the trial court may assess a fine of not more than $50.

(f)  It is a defense to a fine assessed under this section that the party or the party's attorney could not reasonably obtain and provide the information required by Subsection (a).

(g)  Repealed by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 251, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 887, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 251, Sec. 1, 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  30.016.  Recusal Or Disqualification Of Certain Judges.

(a) In this section, "tertiary recusal motion" means a third or subsequent motion for recusal or disqualification filed against a district court or statutory county court judge by the same party in a case.

(b)  A judge who declines recusal after a tertiary recusal motion is filed shall comply with applicable rules of procedure for recusal and disqualification except that the judge shall continue to:

(1)  preside over the case;

(2)  sign orders in the case; and

(3)  move the case to final disposition as though a tertiary recusal motion had not been filed.

(c)  A judge hearing a tertiary recusal motion against another judge who denies the motion shall award reasonable and necessary attorney's fees and costs to the party opposing the motion. The party making the motion and the attorney for the party are jointly and severally liable for the award of fees and costs. The fees and costs must be paid before the 31st day after the date the order denying the tertiary recusal motion is rendered, unless the order is properly superseded.

(d)  The denial of a tertiary recusal motion is only reviewable on appeal from final judgment.

(e)  If a tertiary recusal motion is finally sustained, the new judge for the case shall vacate all orders signed by the sitting judge during the pendency of the tertiary recusal motion.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 608, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1297, Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  30.017.  Claims Against Certain Judges.

(a) A claim against a district court, statutory probate court, or statutory county court judge that is added to a case pending in the court to which the judge was elected or appointed:

(1)  must be made under oath;

(2)  may not be based solely on the rulings in the pending case but must plead specific facts supporting each element of the claim in addition to the rulings in the pending case; and

(3)  is automatically severed from the case.

(b)  The clerk of the court shall assign the claim a new cause number, and the party making the claim shall pay the filing fees.

(c)  The presiding judge of the administrative region or the presiding judge of the statutory probate courts shall assign the severed claim to a different judge. The judge shall dismiss the claim if the claim does not satisfy the requirements of Subsection (a)(1) or (2).

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 608, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.


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