Below you will find our 2020 Texas Pretrial Deadlines Chart, free for you to use. As always, do your own due diligence and feel free to reach out to us with any comments.
An attorney’s involvement in litigation generally begins with triggers such as the filing of a petition or answer, entering an appearance, or the court ordering appointment. Regardless of when your involvement in a case begins, be aware that there are deadlines you must be accountable for in every single case. In order to meet your professional and ethical obligations, you must know the deadlines, keep track of those deadlines, and meet those deadlines (or maintain some legally sufficient excuse).
This information is provided solely as a guide. Always consult your jurisdiction’s relevant rules to verify deadline calculations.
Service of Petition
Review and analyze the statute of limitations based on the applicable issue and law.
Answer to Petition
For cases pending in county and district court: Generally, on or before 10:00 a.m. on the Monday after expiration of 20 days after service.1Tex. R. Civ. P. 99(b).
Motion to Dismiss Baseless Causes of Action
A motion to dismiss must be:
(a) filed within 60 days after the first pleading containing the challenged cause of action is served on the movant;
(b) filed at least 21 days before the motion is heard; and
(c) granted or denied within 45 days after the motion is filed.2Tex. R. Civ. P. 91a.2.
Response to Motion to Dismiss Baseless Causes of Action
Any response to a 91a motion must be filed no later than 7 days before the date of the hearing.3Tex. R. Civ. P. 91a.3.
Answer to Counterclaim
A general denial of matters pleaded by the adverse party which are not required to be denied under oath shall be sufficient to put the same in issue…
When a counterclaim or cross-claim is served upon a party who has made an appearance in the action, the party so served, in the absence of a responsive pleading, shall be deemed to have pleaded a general denial of the counterclaim or cross-claim, but the party shall not be deemed to have waived any special appearance or motion to transfer venue. In all other respects the rules prescribed for pleadings of defensive matter are applicable to answers to counterclaims and cross-claims.4Tex. R. Civ. P. 92.
Motion to Transfer For
An objection to improper venue is waived if not made by written motion filed prior to or concurrently with any other plea, pleading or motion except a special appearance.5Tex. R. Civ. P. 86.1.
Except on leave of court each party is entitled to at least 45 days’ notice of a hearing on the motion to transfer.6Tex. R. Civ. P. 87.1.
Removal to Federal Court
The notice of removal of a civil action or proceeding shall be filed within 30 days after the receipt by the defendant, through service or otherwise, of a copy of the initial pleading setting forth the claim for relief upon which such action or proceeding is based, or within 30 days after the service of summons upon the defendant if such initial pleading has then been filed in court and is not required to be served on the defendant, whichever period is shorter.728 U.S.C. § 1446.
Amendment of Pleadings
Parties may amend their pleadings at any time so as not to constitute surprise provided they are offered for filing at least 7 days prior to trial or upon leave of court.8Tex. R. Civ. P. 63.
Discovery and Summary Judgment
Service of Requests for Disclosure
Requests for disclosure may be served any time after suit is filed, but no later than 30 days before the end of the discovery period.9Tex. R. Civ. P. 194.1.
Responses to Requests for Disclosure
A party must respond within 30 days from service of the request, unless the defendant is served before its answer is due, in which event, defendant has 50 days after service to respond.10Tex. R. Civ. P. 194.3(a).
Service of Requests for Admission
No later than 30 days before the end of the discovery period.11Tex. R. Civ. P. 198.1.
Objections and Answers to Requests for Admissions
The responding party must serve a written response within 30 days from service, unless they are served before their answer is due, in which event the defendant has 50 days after service to respond.12Tex. R. Civ. P. 198.2.
Service of Interrogatories
No later than 30 days before the end of the discovery period.13Tex. R. Civ. P. 197.1.
Objections and Reponses to Interrogatories
The responding party must serve a written response on the requesting party within 30 days after service of the interrogatories, unless they are served before their answer is due, in which event the defendant has 50 days after service to respond.14Tex. R. Civ. P. 197.2.
Service of Requests for Production
No later than 30 days before the end of the discovery period.15Tex. R. Civ. P. 196.1.
Objections and Responses to Requests for Production
The responding party must serve a written response on the requesting party within 30 days from service, unless they are served before their answer is due, in which event the defendant has 50 days after service to respond.16Tex. R. Civ. P. 196.2.
Motion for Protective Order
A person from whom discovery is sought, and any other person affected by the discovery request, may move within the time permitted for response to the discovery request for an order protecting that person from the discovery sought.17Tex. R. Civ. P. 192.6.
Amending or Supplementing Responses to Written Discovery
It is presumed that an amended or supplemental response made less than 30 days before trial was not made reasonably promptly.18Tex. R. Civ. P. 193.5(b).
Subpoena to Nonparty
A party causing a subpoena to issue must take reasonable steps to avoid imposing undue burden or expense on the person served.19Tex. R. Civ. P. 176.7.
Expert Designations, Reports, & Depositions
The party seeking affirmative relief must identify testifying experts by the later of 30 days after service of a request for disclosures under 194.2 (f) or 90 days before the end of the discovery period.20Tex. R. Civ. P. 195.2(a).
Other testifying experts must be designated within 30 days after service of the request for disclosures or 60 days before the end of the discovery period, whichever is later.21Tex. R. Civ. P. 195.2(b).
If no expert report is furnished with the designation, the party proffering the expert must make him available for deposition reasonably promptly after the designation.22Tex. R. Civ. P. 195.3(a)(1).
If the affirmative expert deposition cannot be concluded more than 15 days before the deadline for designating other experts, the deadline to designate other experts must be extended on that same subject.23Tex. R. Civ. P. 195.3(a)(1).
If a report is furnished, then the party proffering the expert need not make him available for deposition until reasonably promptly after all other experts have been designated.24Tex. R. Civ. P. 195.3(a)(2).
A party may move the Court to require an expert to reduce their opinions to tangible form.25Tex. R. Civ. P. 195.5.
Purely Consulting Experts
A party may obtain the identity, mental impressions, and opinions of a consulting expert whose mental impressions and opinions have been reviewed by a testifying expert. Pure consulting experts are not discoverable.26Tex. R. Civ. P. 192.3(e).
Signature and Changes to Deposition Transcript
If the witness does not return the transcript to the deposition officer within 20 days of the date the transcript was provided to the witness or the witness’s attorney, the witness may be deemed to have waived the right to make changes.27Tex. R. Civ. P. 203.1(b).
Amended and Supplemental Discovery Responses
Amend and supplement discovery reasonably promptly and no later than 30 days before trial to avoid an adverse presumption that the supplement is untimely.28Tex. R. Civ. P. 193.5(b).
End of Discovery Period
Level 1: All discovery must be conducted during the discovery period, which begins when the suit is filed and continues until 180 days after the date the first request for discovery of any kind is served on a party.29Tex. R. Civ. P. 190.2(b)(1).
Level 2: All discovery must be conducted during the discovery period, which begins when suit is filed and continues until 30 days before the date set for trial in family cases, or in other cases the earlier of 30 days before the date set for trial or nine months after the earlier of the date of the first oral deposition or the due date of the first response to written discovery.30Tex. R. Civ. P. 190.3(b)(1).
Level 3: All discovery is conducted by the Discovery Control Plan ordered by the court.31Tex. R. Civ. P. 190.4(b).
REQUEST AND FEE FOR JURY TRIAL
Written request must be filed with the clerk of court and jury fee paid no less than 30 days before trial.32Tex. R. Civ. P. 216.
DEFAULT JUDGMENT, SUMMARY JUDGMENT
No default may be granted until the return or proof of service has been on file with the Clerk for 10 days, exclusive of the day of filing and the day of judgment.33Tex. R. Civ. P. 107(h).
Summary judgment motion may be made any time after defendant has answered. Except on leave of court, with notice to opposing counsel, the motion and any supporting affidavits shall be filed and served at least 21 days before the time specified for hearing.34Tex. R. Civ. P. 166a(c).
The nonmovant must file and serve written response and opposing affidavits 7 days prior to the hearing.35Tex. R. Civ. P. 166a(c).
A No-Evidence motion may be made after an adequate time for discovery has passed.36Tex. R. Civ. P. 166a(i).
Request for Findings of Fact, Motion for New Trial
Request for Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
Request for Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law must be filed within 20 days after the judgment is signed.37Tex. R. Civ. P. 296.
The court shall file its findings of fact and conclusions of law within 20 days after a timely request is filed.38Tex. R. Civ. P. 297.
If the court fails to file timely findings of fact and conclusions of law, the party making the request shall file a “Notice of Past Due Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” within 30 days after filing the original request.39Tex. R. Civ. P. 297.
Motion for New Trial
Must be filed prior to or within 30 days after the judgment or order is signed.40Tex. R. Civ. P. 329b(a).
Offer of Settlement, Award of Litigation Costs
Declaration of Settlement Offer
At least 60 days after the later appearance of the offeror or offeree and 45 days before the case is set for trial, a defendant must file a declaration that it is invoking Rule 167 and Chapter 42 of the Tex. Civ. Prac. Rem. Code by making a written settlement offer pursuant to the requirements of 167.2(b). Successive offers may be made up to 14 days before trial.41Tex. R. Civ. P. 167.2.
The notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days after the judgment is signed, except as follows:42Tex. R. App. P. 26.1.
(a) The notice of appeal must be filed within 90 days after the judgment is signed if any party timely files: (1) a motion for new trial; (2) a motion to modify the judgment; (3) a motion to reinstate under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 165a; or (4) a request for findings of fact and conclusions of law if findings and conclusions either are required by the Rules of Civil Procedure or, if not required, could properly be considered by the appellate court;43Tex. R. App. P. 26.1(a).
(b) In an accelerated appeal, the notice of appeal must be filed within 20 days after the judgment or order is signed.44Tex. R. App. P. 26.1(b).
Request for Appellate Record (Reporter’s Record and Clerk’s Record)
At or before the time for perfecting the appeal, the appellant must request in writing that the official reporter prepare the Reporter’s Record. The request must designate the exhibits to be included.45Tex. R. App. P. 34.6.
Appellant should request in writing preparation of the mandatory items to be included in Clerk’s Record at the same time, and may request additional items at any time before the Clerk’s Record is prepared.46Tex. R. App. P. 34.5.
The appellate record must be filed in the appellate court within 60 days after the judgment is signed, except as follows:
(a) if Rule 26.1(a) applies, within 120 days after the judgment is signed;
(b) if Rule 26.1(b) applies, within 10 days after the notice of appeal is filed; or
(c) if Rule 26.1(c) applies, within 30 days after the notice of appeal is filed.[mfnTex. R. App. P. 35.1.[/mfn]
The trial and appellate courts are jointly responsible for ensuring that the appellate record is timely filed.47Tex. R. App. P. 35.3.
An appellant must file a brief within 30 days (20 days in an accelerated appeal) after the later of:
(1) the date the clerk’s record was filed; or
(2) the date the reporter’s record was filed.48Tex. R. App. P. 38.6(a).
The appellee’s brief must be filed within 30 days (20 days in an accelerated appeal) after the date the appellant’s brief was filed. In a civil case, if the appellant has not filed a brief as provided in this rule, an appellee may file a brief within 30 days (20 days in an accelerated appeal) after the date the appellant’s brief was due.49Tex. R. App. P. 38.6(b).
A reply brief, if any, must be filed within 20 days after the date the appellee’s brief was filed.50Tex. R. App. P. 38.6(c).
Motion for Rehearing (in Court of Appeals)
A motion for rehearing may be filed within 15 days after the court of appeals’ judgment or order is rendered.51Tex. R. App. P. 49.1.
Response to Motion for Rehearing
No response to a motion for rehearing need be filed unless the court so requests. A motion will not be granted unless a response has been filed or requested by the court.52Tex. R. App. P. 49.2.
PROCEEDINGS IN THE SUPREME COURT
Petition for Review
The Petition for Review must be filed within 45 days after the judgment of the court of appeals or the last ruling on all timely filed motions for rehearing.53Tex. R. App. P. 53.7(a).
Response to Petition for Review
Any response must be filed with the Supreme Court clerk within 30 days after the petition is filed.54Tex. R. App. P. 53.7(d).
Reply to Response to Petition for Review
Any reply must be filed with the Supreme Court clerk within 15 days after the response is filed.55Tex. R. App. P. 53.7(e).
Motion for Rehearing (in Supreme Court)
A motion for rehearing may be filed with the Supreme Court clerk within 15 days from the date when the Court renders judgment or makes an order disposing of a petition for review. In exceptional cases, if justice requires, the Court may shorten the time within which the motion may be filed or even deny the right to file it altogether.56Tex. R. App. P. 64.1.
Response to Motion for Rehearing
No response to a motion for rehearing need be filed unless the Court so requests. A motion will not be granted unless a response has been filed or requested by the Court. But in exceptional cases, if justice so requires, the Court may deny the right to file a response and act on a motion any time after it is filed.57Tex. R. App. P. 64.3.
Texas Pretrial Deadlines Chart