Court Procedures

Trial Announcements

1.  All parties MUST make an announcement regarding their readiness for trial on the THURSDAY prior to the week of the trial setting.  Failure to announce by the Plaintiff will result in the case being called to trial  and dismissal.  Failure to announce by Defendant will be viewed as an announcement of "ready" for trial.  An announcement of "not ready" by either party DOES NOT mean your case is automatically continued.  If your case is not going to be ready on its assigned or chosen trial date, the Court expects you to file a motion for continuance as far in advance of trial as possible for consideration by the Court.  Last minute motions for continuance should be based on a true emergency.

2.  "Called to trial" as posted on this website for trial settings is self-explanatory.  If your case is "called to trial" you need to show up on your trial date prepared to try your case.  Failure to appear ready for trial will likely cause your case to be dismissed by the Court.

3.  "Standby" designations on the trial calendar means counsel and their client are subject to being called on short notice on their designated trial date.  You must be ready to proceed within 2 hours of getting notice your case is now called by the Court.  If your case is "standby" and you have not received a call from the Court Coordinator by 10:30 a.m. on your date of trial, your case will not be called that day by the Court.  Your case will then be reset for trial on a later date.

4.  Trial announcements can be made by calling the Court Coordinator, Cathy Moran, at 214 653 7345 or by emailing Cathy through this website's trial docket, which is linked to Cathy's email. 

Court Dockets

1.  Dismissal Docket:  Upon the filing of each new case, the case is placed on the Court's Dismissal Docket.  Notice of the dismissal date and time is sent to the party/counsel.  The case WILL BE DISMISSED for want of prosecution if the following does not occur prior to the dismissal date:  1)  process of service is completed and an answer is filed or 2) process of service is completed and default judgment is granted.  Requests for extensions should be directed to the Court Coordinator. 

2.  Trial Docket:  County Court at Law #4 has trial dockets every day of the week.  Non-jury cases are usually heard on Mondays at 2:00 p.m. and Fridays at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.  Jury cases are assigned trial dates on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  Forcible Entry & Detainer cases are heard by the Court on Fridays at 8:00 a.m.

3.  Disposition Docket:  Upon receipt of information that the case is now ready for disposition (verdict, dispositive motion, settlement, etc.), the case will be set on a 30-day disposition docket.  Counsel is required to submit all final paperwork for disposition of the case within 30 days.  Failure to provide the Court with the appropriate paperwork (i.e., judgment or non-suit with order) prior to date the case is reached on the Disposition Docket WILL result in dismissal.

4.  Motion Docket:  All motions, unless specially set by the Court, are heard on Mondays from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.  To set a motion for hearing, counsel may call the Court's chief clerk, Nuri Fernandez, at 214 653 7466 or email Nuri through this website's motion calendar.  Default and minor prove ups are normally set on Fridays at 9:00 a.m.

Motion Hearings

1.  This Court reads motions and briefs prior to the hearing.  Occasionally, responses filed on their due date or last minute will not make it into the Court's file prior to the hearing.  This is often true with motion responses that are e-filed.  If a response/reply/sur-reply is not filed until a few days before a hearing, counsel may desire to provide an additional courtesy copy for the Court and specifically notify the Court's Chief Clerk that it needs to be presented to the Court for an impending hearing. 

2.  The Court likes to see proof of notice for the hearing in the Court's file.  Always be prepared to provide proof to the Court that timely notice was given to your opposition for the hearing. 

3.  Please conference with your opposition before filing a motion and setting it for hearing.  This is especially true with discovery motions.  Do not be surprised if the Court orders you to its conference room to discuss large amounts of interrogatories, requests for production, etc. prior to a discovery hearing that could take hours of the Court's time. 

4.  SHOW UP!  If you set a motion for hearing and fail to show up without canceling in advance, you are being disrespectful to the Court and the Court Staff.  If you fail to show for a hearing without just cause, your next hearing might be set at 4:30 p.m. on a Friday....and perhaps the Court may decide not to show up either. 

5.  BRING A PROPOSED ORDER for the relief you are seeking from the Court.

6.  YOU MAY SET UP A TELEPHONIC HEARING by calling the CourtCall at least 5 days in advance of your hearing date to set up the telephonic hearing.  Courtcall's number is 1-888-882-6878.  If you decide to set up a telephone hearing you must also do the following:  1) Advise the Court Coordinator you will be appearing by phone and 2) Provide dial-in instructions to both the Court and your opposition.  You MAY NOT appear by phone without setting up your hearing through Courtcall.  Last-minute/emergency motions may be heard telephonically with the Court's permission.  A last-minute/emergency request may be made through the Court Coordinator. 

Pre-Trial in Jury Cases

1.  Your jury trial settings will be at 9:00 a.m.  The Court opens for business at 8:00 a.m.  Be ready to discuss exhibits, motions in limine, deposition testimony, witnesses, etc. between 8 and 9:00 a.m.  Jury venire panels normally arrive around 9:30 a.m.  The Court expects counsel to be ready for jury selection at 9:30 a.m. sharp.  If you have large amounts of exhibits, motions in limine, etc., you need to discuss those with your opposition well before the trial date.  If counsel feel a longer pre-trial hearing is necessary than the standard 1 hour we have before the venire panel normally arrives, the Court expects you to set a pre-trial hearing with the Chief Clerk before the trial setting. 

2.  Come to trial with the following for the Court:  1) A copy of your witness list, 2) A copy of your exhibit list, and 3) a hard copy and a diskette of your proposed jury charge in Microsoft Word format. 

Continuances

1.  Agreed continuances will not be automatically granted.

2.  If continuances are granted, the Court will attempt to reset the case for trial as soon as possible.  The Court attempts to make sure the Supreme Court of Texas' 18 month (or less) guideline for the resolution of civil cases is followed as much as possible.