Benchbook
Civil Proceedings


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Laws | Civil Proceedings

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I. GENERAL RULES

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A. Computation of Time

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B. Enlargement of Time

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C. Suits Commenced on Sunday

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D. Withdrawal of Attorney

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E. Agreements Must be Written

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F. Effect of Signing Pleadings, Motions, and Other Papers

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II. RULES OF PRACTICE

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A. Writs and Process

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1. In General

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2. All Process Must be Endorsed

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3. Officer to Execute Process

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B. Recusal or Disqualification of Judges

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1. Motion Must be Made

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2. Motion and Notice to Other Parties

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3. Recusal by the Judge

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4. Refusal to Recuse

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5. Review of Decision on Motion

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6. Authority of Chief Justice

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7. Recusal Sought to Delay Case

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8. Grounds for Disqualification and Recusal

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C. Filing and Serving Pleadings and Motions

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D. Methods of Service

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1. Types of Service

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2. Additional Time

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3. Who May Serve

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4. Proof of Non-Service

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5. Privacy Protection for Filed Documents

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E. Sanctions for Failure to Serve

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F. Institution of Suit

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1. Commenced by Petition

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2. Suits Should be Numbered Consecutively

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3. Duty of Clerk

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4. Clerk's File Docket

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5. Clerk's Court Docket

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6. Order of Cases

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III. PLEADING

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A. General

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1. Requirements for Pleadings

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2. Claims for Relief

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3. Adoption by Reference

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4. Exhibits and Pleadings

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5. Method of Inclusion

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6. Intervenor's Pleadings

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7. Averments

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8. Amendments

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9. Filing

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10. Surprise Pleadings and Supplements

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11. Misnomer of Pleadings

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12. Inspection of Papers by Attorneys

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13. Sealing Court Records

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14. Lost Papers and Records

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B. Pleadings of Plaintiff

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1. Petition

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2. Defensive Matters

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3. Special Defenses

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C. Pleadings of Defendant

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1. Answer

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2. Waiver of Defects in Pleading

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3. Special Exceptions

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4. General Denial

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5. Certain Pleas to be Verified

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6. Affirmative Defenses

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7. Insurance Suits

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8. Pleas of Payment

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9. No Discontinuance

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10. Counterclaim and Cross-Claim

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11. Supplemental Answers

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IV. CITATION

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A. Defendant in Texas

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1. Issuance and Form of Citation

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2. Who May Serve

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3. Duty of Person Serving Process

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B. How to Serve

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1. In Person or by Mail

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2. Substituted Service

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3. Return of Service

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C. Defendant Not in Texas

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D. Substituted Service

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1. Citation by Publication

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2. Other Substituted Service

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3. Requisites of Citation by Publication

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4. Service of Citation by Publication

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5. Return of Citation by Publication

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6. Effect of Citation by Publication - Rules on Other Statutes

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E. Amendment

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F. Acceptance of Service

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1. Defendant's Options When Served With Process

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2. Appearances by Defendant

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3. Answer is Appearance

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4. Constructive Appearance

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G. Judgments

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1. Reversal of Judgment

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2. No Judgment Without Service

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V. PRETRIAL PROCEDURE

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A. Pretrial Conference

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B. Summary Judgment

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1. For Claimant

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2. For Defending Party

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3. Motion and Proceedings

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4. Use of Discovery Not Otherwise on File

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5. Case Not Fully Adjudicated on Motion

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6. Form of Affidavits; Further Testimony

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7. When Affidavits Are Unavailable

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8. Affidavits Made in Bad Faith

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C. Forms and Scope and Discovery

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1. Form of Discovery

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2. Scope of Discovery

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3. Exemptions

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4. Presentation of Objections

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5. Discovery Protective Orders

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6. Duty to Supplement

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7. Discovery Motions

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D. Guardian Ad Litem

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E. Consolidation and Separate Trials

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1. Consolidation

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2. Separate Trials

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VI. SUBPOENA OF WITNESSES

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A. Who May Issue

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B. Who May Request

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C. Who May Be Subpoenaed

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D. Separate Subpoenas

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E. Form of Subpoena

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F. Subpoena for the Production of Documentary Evidence

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G. Service of Subpoenas

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1. Who May Serve

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2. How to Serve

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3. Proof of Service

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H. Subpoenaed Witness Must Attend the Trial

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I. Refusal to Testify

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J. Party as a Witness

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VII. ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCEDURES

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A. Referral to an Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedure

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B. Notification and Objection

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C. Appointment of Impartial Third Parties

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1. Qualifications of Impartial Third Party

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2. Standards and Duties of Impartial Third Parties

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3. Compensation of Impartial Third Parties

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VIII. THE JURY IN COURT

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A. Request and Fee for Jury Trial

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1. Request

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2. Jury Fee

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3. Inability to Pay Jury Fee

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B. Jury Docket

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C. Jury Trial Day

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D. Withdrawing Cause from Jury Docket

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E. Assembling the Potential Jurors

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1. Jury List in Certain Counties

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2. Preparing the Jury List in Other Counties

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3. Summoning More Jurors

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4. Challenging the Manner of Juror Selection

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F. Selecting a Jury

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1. Oath to Jury Panel

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2. Certain Questions Not to be Asked

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3. Challenge to Juror

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4. Final Selection of Jury

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5. If Jury is Incomplete

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6. Oath to Jury

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IX. TRIAL OF CAUSES

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A. Appearance and Procedure

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1. Appearance Day

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2. Call of Appearance Docket

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3. Judgment by Default

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4. Assessing Damages on Liquidated Damages

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5. Unliquidated Damages

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6. On Service by Publication

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7. Assignment of Cases for Trial

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8. Clerk Must Give Notice of Settings

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9. Tried When Set

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10. Jury Cases

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11. Call of Non-jury Docket

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B. The Trial

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1. Trial by the Court

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2. Agreed Case

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3. Video-recorded Trial

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4. Order of Proceedings in Trial by Jury

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5. Open and Close

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6. Witnesses Placed Under Rule

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7. Motion for Instructed Verdict

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C. Charge to the Jury

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1. General

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2. Requisites of the Charge

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3. Charge Read Before Argument

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4. Additions to Charge Requested by Parties

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5. Objections and Requests

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6. Refusal or Modification of Request

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7. Submission to the Jury - Form of the Charge

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8. Submission of Questions, Definitions, and Instructions

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D. Submitting the Case to the Jury

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1. Presiding Juror

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2. What the Jury May Take to the Jury Room

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3. Jury Kept Together

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4. Judge Must Caution Jury

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5. Duty of Officer Attending Jury

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6. Jury May Communicate with Court

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7. Jury May Receive Further Instructions

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8. Disagreement as to Evidence

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9. Court Open for Jury

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10. Discharge of Jury

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E. Verdict

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1. Definitions

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2. Form of Verdict

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3. Non-unanimous Verdict

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4. When the Jury Has Decided

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5. Polling the Jury

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6. Correction of Verdict

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F. Findings by the Court

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1. Requests for Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

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2. Time to File Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

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3. Additional or Amended Findings and Conclusions

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4. Omitted Findings

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5. Findings of Fact Must be Filed Separately

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G. Judgments

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1. Form

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2. Judgment Non Obstante Veredicto (Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict)

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3. One Judgment per Cause

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4. Court to Render Judgment

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5. Contents of Judgment

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6. Counterclaims

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7. Counterclaims and Costs

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8. Judgments on the Record

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9. Proposed Judgments

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10. Periods to Run from Signing of Judgment

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11. Prematurely Filed Documents

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12. Exceptions

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13. Court Must Enforce its Decrees

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14. Judgments in Particular Types of Cases

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H. Remittitur and Correction

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1. Remittitur

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2. Correction of Clerical Mistakes in Judgment Record

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I. Motion for New Trial

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Judicial Education Center

The Texas Association of Counties County Judges Education Advisory Committee has provided basic support services for producing judicial education programs for constitutional county judges and court personnel since 1984.

The goal of the Texas Association of Counties County Judges Education Advisory Committee is to develop a progressive judicial education curriculum for constitutional county judges and court personnel designed for the unique needs of new judges, experienced judges, court personnel and county judges with limited judicial responsibilities.

The County Judges Benchbook is provided here as an informational research tool only and is NOT a substitute for legal counsel. If you have any questions please contact TAC for assistance.

Judicial Staff:

Hon. Stephanie Moreno,
Judicial Program Manager,
(StephanieM@county.org)

Hon. Tramer Woytek,
Judicial Resource Liaison,
(TramerW@county.org)

Michele Mund,
Education & Event Services Manager,
(MicheleM@county.org)

Ashley Royer,
Project Manager,
(AshleyR@county.org)

Regan Fruge,
Judicial Project Coordinator,
(ReganF@county.org)

Helpful Numbers

Judicial hotline:
(844) CoJudge or (844) 265-8343

TAC toll free in Texas:
(800) 456-5974
(512) 478-8753

Email:
judicialhotline@county.org