Flashcards in Texas Civil Procedure Deck (141)
What are the two levels of civil courts in Texas?
Trial and Appellate.
What are the trial courts in Texas civil courts?
1) District Court;
2) County Court at Law;
3) Constitutional County Court; AND
4) Justice of the Peace Court.
How do you know which Texas civil court has subject matter jurisdiction (power to hear a particular case)?
Determined by the amount in controversy.
1) District Courts - Courts of GENERAL JURISDICTION with an amount in controversy requirement of $500.01 (unclear on whether it could be 200.01) AND UP (no upper limit).
2) County Courts at Law - Created by the legislature for certain counties. AIC requirement is between $200.01 and $200,000.
3) Constitutional County Court - Created by Texas Constitution. The county judges presides over this court. Court has civil jurisdiction over claims with AIC between $200.01 and $10,000.
4) Justice of the Peace Court - Civil jurisdiction over minor civil actions where the amount in controversey is not more than $10,000.
Hypo: Bob asserts a claim against Jim for $80,000. Which Texas trial courts have SMJ over the case?
DC and the CCL.
How is the AIC determined?
1) Single Plaintiff / Single Defendant - Plaintiff can aggregate multiple claims against the defendant to meet the amount in controversy.
2) Multiple Plaintiffs / Single Defendant - All claims by multiple plaintiffs against the same defendant are aggregated to determine the AIC.
3) Multiple Defendants - Separate, independent, and distinct claims against multiple defendants are NOT aggregated.
Where does the plaintiff put his amount in controversy?
TRCP requires that a pleading MUST include a specific statement of the amount of monetary relief sought.
What happens if the plaintiff fails to plead the maximum amount claimed in damages?
The defendant files a SPECIAL EXCEPTION, which requires the plaintiff to specify the maximum amount claimed.
What if the AIC pleaded is outside the jurisdictional limits of the court?
The defendant files a PLEA TO THE JURISDICTION, because the court does not have the authority to hear the case (a challenge to the court's subject matter jurisdiction).
What are some other grounds for challenges to the SMJ of a Texas court?
1) Governmental immunity from suit;
2) Justiciability; OR
3) Another texas trial court has exclusive jurisdiction.
Explain the Appellate courts and their jurisdiction in Texas.
There are 14 intermediate courts of appeals in Texas. They have intermediate appellate jurisdiction in civil cases appealed from the district and county courts when the amount in controversy or the judgment rendered EXCEEDS $100.
The jurisdiction of the intermediate courts of appeals over civil cases is MANDATORY.
How is an appeal initiated?
With a NOTICE OF APPEAL.
What must a notice of appeal include?
1) The trial court's name and case's trial court number and style;
2) The date of the judgment or order appealed from;
3) A statement that the party desires to appeal;
4) The court to which the appeal is taken; AND
5) The name of each party filing the notice of appeal.
When must a notice of appeal be filed?
WITHIN 30 DAYS OF THE DATE THE JUDGMENT WAS SIGNED.
What is the effect of a notice of appeal on the trial court's judgment?
The filing of a notice of appeal DOES NOT SUSPEND ENFORCEMENT of the trial court's judgment.
How may a judgment debtor party suspend enforcement of the judgment?
1) Obtaining a written agreement with the judgment creditor;
2) Filing with the trial court clerk a good and sufficient bond;
3) Making a deposit with the clerk in lieu of a bond; OR
4) Providing alternate security as ordered by the court.
What jurisdiction does the Texas Supreme Court have?
This is the highest CIVIL court in the state. Has APPELLATE JURISDICTION over cases decided by the intermediate courts of appeals in Texas.
Has DISCRETION to grant review of a decision by the intermediate appellate court.
An appeal is made to the Texas Supreme Court by filing a petition for review.
What is filed for the Texas Supreme Court on appeal?
A petition for review.
The defendant may challenge the plaintiff's choice of venue if it is ______________.
What does the Texas venue scheme look like?
1) Mandatory Venue Provisions;
2) Permissive Venue Provisions; AND
3) General Venue Rules
What is the General Venue Rule?
All lawsuits must be brought in the county where:
1) All or a substantial part of the events that gave rise to the action took place;
2) The defendant resides at the time of the event;
3) The defendant's principal office in the state, if the defendant is not a natural person; OR
4) If none of these situations apply, the county where the plaintiff resided at the time of the event.
What is a residence?
A fixed place of abode that one occupies or intends to occupy permanently.
What is a principal office?
Place where the decision makers for the organization within the company conduct the daily affairs of the organization. The place where a company has its headquarters.
YOU MAY HAVE MORE THAN ONE PRINCIPAL OFFICE.
How is venue challenged?
Plaintiff has first choice to fix venue by filing the suit.
The Defendant challenges the plaintiff's choice by filing a MOTION TO TRANSFER venue.
What grounds are bases for transferring venue?
1) Plaintiff's choice of venue is improper under the rules;
2) The case should be transferred to another proper venue on convenience and justice grounds;
3) The parties consent to a transfer; OR
4) A local prejudice makes it unfair for the case to be heard in the county of suit.
What is the procedure to challenge venue when local prejudice exists?
Motion to Change Venue.
What is the deadline to file a motion to transfer? What is the penalty for untimely filing?
MUST be filed before any other pleading or motion. Motion to transfer venue is filed prior to or concurrently with the filing of the answer.
A venue objection is WAIVED if not timely filed.
What does a motion to transfer venue contain?
1) Denial of plaintiff's venue facts alleged in the petition;
2) Explanation why venue is improper;
3) Allege another proper county of venue with specific venue facts; AND
4) Request the court transfer the case to that county.
What is the Plaintiff's proof requirement once venue is challenged?
The burden is on the plaintiff to establish by PRIMA FACIE PROOF that venue is proper in the original county of suit.
Prima Facie proof may be established through affidavits, discovery products, and other sources of information.
What happens after submitting a motion to transfer?
The motion will be set for hearing by the defendant.
EACH party is entitled to at least 45 DAYS NOTICE OF THE HEARING.
The plaintiff's response and evidence must be filed at least 30 DAYS before the hearing date.
Defendant must submit any additional reply and evidence at least 7 DAYS before the hearing.