Court Procedures

You may review the page or click the link below to review a specific section:

Dismissal and Disposition Docket

Motion and Hearings

Trial Announcements

Trial Docket

Agreed Scheduling Orders

Continuances

Mediation & Appointments

Dismissal and Disposition Docket

Dismissal Docket

A. All newly filed cases are given a dismissal date 120 days after the filing date (on the next available Friday). Notice of the dismissal date will be promptly mailed 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,
  2. Process of service is completed and default judgment is granted,
  3. Motion to Retain (with verification and certificate of service) filed and set for hearing (cannot retain a case more than once).

B. If none of the above have been completed, the responsible party will need to have an attorney appear at the hearing with an Affidavit of Due Diligence documenting all service attempts.  Pursuant to TRCP 165, a Motion to Retain with an Affidavit of Due Diligence may be filed with the clerk's office prior to the dismissal setting.  The Motion to Retain must be verified and contain a Certificate of Service to the defendant(s).

A Motion to Retain must be filed well before the dismissal date to allow enough time for processing and scanning.  Just filing a motion prior to the dismissal date will NOT remove your case from the dismissal docket.  It is the party/counsel�s responsibility to follow up with the Court Coordinator to request a hearing and ensure removal from the docket.  An Order to Retain will not be signed; instead the period of time from the dismissal date until the retain hearing is the extension you are given.  Afterwards, an attorney must appear at the retain setting if all answers have not been filed and/or default judgments granted.  Cases may only be set on the retain docket once.

C. The following cases do not receive dismissal dates but are immediately given trial dates or reviewed by the court

  1. Forcible Entry and Detainer Appeal- trial date set 14-21 days after filing
  2. All other JP Appeals - mediation and trial date set
  3. Condemnation - need appointment of Special Commissioners
  4. Foreign Judgment - reviewed by the court
  5. Bill of Review - reviewed by the court

 

Upon notice that the case is now ready for disposition (verdict, dispositive motion, settlement, etc.), the case will be set on a 30-day disposition docket (on the next available Friday). 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 the date the case is reached on the Disposition Docket WILL result in dismissal. Cases will be reset on the disposition docket only twice before being issued a new trial date.

Motions and Hearings

When filing motions, orders and any other document, make sure your paperwork is typed in at least a 12-point font, double spaced, stapled and two-hole punched.

A. The Court hears motions on Mondays through Fridays beginning at 9:00 am. To set a hearing, please contact the clerks at (214) 653-7556. Docket-call begins promptly at 9:00 am and all parties are expected to be on time. Failure to appear for your own motion will result in a denied motion and may result in a DWOP.

B. Out of courtesy for the Court and the clerks, we request that you contact the clerks for cancellations as far in advance as possible. In addition, the Court�s motion docket tends to be booked several weeks in advanced, so if you cancel a hearing, please do not expect to get an immediate reset.

C. Emergency resets will be considered on a case by case basis and will only be granted by the Judge. The clerks do not have the discretion to overbook the Judge.

D. Be sure to bring a proposed order for the relief you are seeking from the Court.

E. The Court must be provided courtesy copies of any motions that are greater than ten pages in length.  These courtesy copies should be filed in a binder and marked with dividers/tabs as necessary.  The copies should be one week in advance of the hearing date and should include any responses, replies or sur replies.

F. There is a limit of two motions for summary judgment per side that may be heard.  Parties should file a motion for leave of Court if they wish to file more than two summary judgment motions.

G. This court does not hold hearings by phone.

H. Motions that do not require a hearing:

Unopposed Continuances - must include an Agreed Scheduling Order. See the section on continuances

Motion for Substitute Service - unless specified by court

Motion for Default Judgment - unless specified by court

Unopposed Motion to Subsitute/Withdraw Counsel - agreed by both parties and client

Motions to Nonsuit, Dismiss (by plaintiff only, motion to dismiss must be agreed)

Agreed Judgments

Trial Announcements

A. 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 if no one appears, the case will be dismissed.  Failure to announce by Defendant will be viewed as an announcement of "ready" for trial. 

B. 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.

C. Special Set trials will not be granted continuances except in the case of an emergency.

D. Announcements can be made by contacting the Court Coordinator, Seth Little at (214) 653-6581

Trial Docket

A. Trials are set Mon - Thurs and begin at 9:30 am. Trials are set as follows:

Jury Trials - Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Non-Jury Trials - Thursdays

B. All cases are called for trial the day they are set.  The Court requires all parties to appear for docket call. If your case is not reached, it will be reset.  You should have your clients and witnesses ready.

C. Failure to appear may result in a default or dismissal.

D. Any party with a pending bench trial before this Court should file Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law at least one week in advance of their trial date.

E. When filing Requests for Findings of Fact & Conclusions of Law, courtesy copies of such requests should be filed with the Coordinator.  Proposed Findings of Fact & Conclusions of Law should also be filed in Microsoft Word format on a CD or flash drive.

Agreed Scheduling Orders

A. Once the defendant(s) has answered the lawsuit the case becomes ready for a trial setting. Prior to a trial date being set, it is mandatorythat both parties contact one another and submit an Agreed Scheduling Order to the court. The Court will allow a 30 day time-limit for the ASO to be submitted. The requirements are as follows:

  1. Submitted in writing with original signatures from both parties, stamps are not acceptable
  2. Proposed trial date 
    1. Jury Trials - heard on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays
    2. Non-Jury Trials - heard on Thursdays.
  3. Proposed mediation date and the name of the mediator is mandatory, even if your client has no intention of settling. This Court expects mediation to be completed at least 45 days before trial. (If your case has not been to mediation in the last 8 months, the Court requires you to go again).
  4. Include any discovery or deposition dates or a specific deadline if individual dates have not been set.
  5. The dates requested must correspond with the level dictated on the original petition (do not set a Level 1 case for trial 17 months from now) and must be date-specific.
  6. Motions for Summary Judgment will not be heard until after mediation has been conducted.

B. If one party fails to respond to the other�s request for an ASO, then the requesting party may submit to the Court a PROPOSED Scheduling Order with an attached explanation that the other party did not respond to requests. If the Court enters the Proposed Scheduling Order, the non-compliant party is bound to that order.

C. If neither party submits a scheduling order in response to the Court�s requests, the case will be dismissed.

D. Exception to ASO - Only Level One collections cases will not be required to submit an agreed scheduling order. Once the defendant answers, the court will enter a trial date and issue a mediation order.

Continuances

A. Unless agreed or unopposed by all parties, Motions for Continuance must be set for a hearing before the Court.

B. Agreed/Unopposed Motions for Continuance do not require a hearing but must contain the following:

Agreed signatures or certificate of conference with all parties (clients signatures required if case over one year old)

Agreed Scheduling Order and a Discovery Plan must be included (see requirements for ASO�s above).  The Discovery Plan must include adetailed account of what discovery/depositions/issue remain, which parties they involve and a specific date when those issues will be resolved.

Mediation & Appointments

A. The Court allows the parties the first opportunity to select a mediator (must be accredited) which must be done at the time the Proposed Agreed Scheduling Order is presented to the Court.  Failure to timely designate a mediator will result in the Court appointing a mediator to whom the parties may not object.

B. If the case has not been to mediation in the last 8 months the Court will order the case back to mediation.

C. Attorneys showing at mediation without their clients will be subject to sanctions.

D. Corporations must be represented at the mediation by an executive officer with authority to negotiate a settlement.  This officer must attend the mediation in person.

E. Once a case has been assigned to a mediator, the parties may not take the case to another mediator without obtaining Court permission.

F: Mediator & Ad Litem Appointments - Individuals who wish to apply to be included on the Dallas County Court at Law No. 1's mediator or ad litem wheel should contact the court coordinator, Seth Little, at 214-653-6581.