14th Judicial District Court
Hon. Eric V. Moyé, Presiding
George L. Allen, Sr. Courts Building – 600 Commerce Street, 5th Floor New Tower, Dallas, TX 75202
Court Adnministrator: (214) 653-6000 • Fax: (214) 653-6001
DALLAS LOCAL COURT RULES
The Local Rules adopted for use in the District Courts of Dallas County, including this Court, may be located through the Link on the Courts Bulletin Board link above. A portion of the rules is also available on the District Clerk's web site.
SCHEDULING ORDER/TRIAL SETTINGS
After the first answer is filed, the Court sends out the Uniform Level 1 or 2 Scheduling Order (copies available in the Clerks' Office). Level 3 cases receive a trial setting notice. Some cases designated as Level 1 or 2 may receive a one page trial setting (e.g., sworn accounts, TWCC appeals, etc.). The parties may modify the scheduling orders and trial date by agreement by sending in an agreed modified scheduling order, provided the Court receives the modified order within 30 days of trial and the case is less than one year in age.
Normal Motion Docket
Judge Moyé's normal motion docket is from 8:35 a.m. - 9:30 a.m., Mondays through Fridays. Hearings are set at 10 minute intervals unless more time is requested.
Emergency Motion Docket
Hearings can also be set outside the normal hearing docket in case a hearing is needed sooner than the "next available setting." "I couldn't get an earlier setting," is never an excuse. We will find time for a hearing. Judge Moyé also accepts calls during depositions and other proceedings involving all counsel when a question arises that needs immediate attention.
Telephone hearings are an option; just advise the Court Administrator Bennetta Hughes and arrange to call in at the designated time. If more than one person will be included in the telephone conference, arrangements must be made by counsel to be on the same call.
Judge Sims' Motion Docket for the 14th
Judge Kent Sims is available for a Monday, 10:30-11:30 a.m. docket for the 14th District Court.
Associate Judge Teresa Guerra Snelson's Docket for the 14th
Associate Judge Snelson is available for a Friday morning docket for the 14th.
Matters are set on Judge Sims' and Associate Judge Snelson's dockets with the consent of counsel setting the hearing. Those hearings may be arranged through the Court Administrator. If any party objects to such hearing, Judge Moyé will hear the matter.
Hearings before the Associate Judges are governed by Section 54.502 et seq. of the Government Code.
Certificates of Conference
Motions require certificates of conference as stated in Local Rule 2.07. Judge Moyé does not require a certificate of conference on motions for summary judgment. The Court Administrator generally will set a hearing on a motion without a certificate of conference, but the person requesting the hearing will have to explain at the hearing why no certificate exists and that party may be required to compensate the opposing counsel for an unnecessary hearing.
Motions for Summary Judgment
No summary judgment motions may be set for hearing within 30 days of trial (this requirement is included in the Uniform Scheduling Orders). The parties may otherwise agree or a party may move for leave to allow such hearing based upon good cause.
Cancellation of Hearings
To cancel a hearing, please fax a letter, copy to other counsel/pro se parties, to the Court at 214-653-6001, notifying the Court of the cancellation. This procedure is important because opponents of motions sometimes try to cancel hearings and because of confusion by some who do not receive notice of cancellations.
Notices of intent to dismiss a case for want of prosecution when no answer has been filed, are sent by the Court Administrator approximately 30 days after the suit is filed. If a plaintiff needs more time to effect service, etc., advise the Court Administrator prior to the hearing and the dismissal time may be extended.
Judge Moyé hears his TROs from the 14th if he is available. In the event the Judge is not immediately available, the parties may take the application to Associate Judge Snelson. If Associate Judge Snelson is not available, the application may go to another Civil District Judge or Civil Associate Judge with a written permission form from the Deputy Clerks or the Court Administrator. All Civil District Judges adhere to this policy for their courts and the policy is posted in the Deputy District Clerk office pods. TROs from other courts will be considered by Judge Moyé only with permission from that court pursuant to the established procedure. All Civil District Judges require compliance with Local Rule 2.02 on ex parte requests. Effective February 2006, enhanced requirements have been added to the Local Rules (those changes are highlighted on the Local Rules folder accessible through the Court's Bulletin Board link above).
VOIR DIRE (ABOTA Q & A)
1. Do you have a standing rule limiting the time for voir dire in your court? If so, what is that time limit?
Voir Dire time limitations are on a case by case basis.
2. Does this rule apply to all civil cases?
3. Do you impose limitations on voir dire on a case by case basis? If so, what criteria do you consider in determining how voir dire will be limited?
No. We have no limits.
4. Do you permit the use of a jury questionnaire? If so, what is the procedure to secure permission to submit a jury questionnaire? Co you have any limitations or specific guidelines as to what should be contained in a jury questionnaire?
Yes. If the parties agree, the court will submit the agreed questionnaire. If there is a disagreement as to specific questions or regarding whether to submit the questionnaire, the court will resolve the dispute. The dispute needs to be brought to the court’s attention promptly, however, and clearly before the morning of trial.
The court has no limitations as to what should be contained in a questionnaire, although questions prohibited by law would not be allowed. We suggest a one page form except in exceptional circumstances and the form should have a blank space or a specific place for the prospective juror to note any hardships or problems in staying the estimated length of the trial. To save time, the court may take up those hardships privately with counsel and the prospective juror as soon as the questionnaire is completed. This will allow additional panel members to be called and added to the panel that is reporting back for voir dire at a specific time.
5. Do you impose any limitations on the nature and character of questions that attorneys can ask during voir dire? If so, what limitations?
Counsel should not ask questions that commit the juror. For example, do not ask the prospective juror whether he/she “would award punitive damages.” The question allowed would be (for example after a juror has stated a dislike for punitive damages): “If the law allows for recovery of punitive damages, and there is evidence supporting an award, will you consider the evidence and follow the law? Or, will your personal beliefs prevent you from considering the evidence or following the law?”
The court also discourages argument during voir dire and will sustain an objection to argument. The best voir dire is when the prospective jurors are talking about their feelings and beliefs.
6. What procedure do you prefer in challenging jurors for cause?
Jurors should be challenged privately, outside the presence of the panel and the juror. Challenges typically occur privately with counsel, the court, and the court reporter once all questioning has been completed, including private questioning.
7. What is your preference with regard to questions posed to individual jurors?
Asking questions of individual jurors during the group voir dire process is encouraged (the jurors need to be talking, not counsel or the court). With respect to probing or sensitive questions, jurors should not be arm-wrestled in front of the panel. Counsel are instructed to keep a list of those jurors whom they wish to question privately because of sensitive areas of inquiry, and private questioning can be done at the conclusion of the group voir dire. The jurors are also advised at the beginning of voir dire that they may speak privately if they are asked information, or need to share information, which they do not want to share with their 36 new best friends.
8. Do you allow the use of demonstrative aids in jury selection? If so, are there any restrictions on their use?
Anyone wishing to use exhibits or demonstrative aids needs to obtain the agreement of opposing counsel or bring the question to the court’s attention in sufficient time to have the court consider the request prior to voir dire. The court does not favor use of such materials unless necessary to the process of obtaining fair jurors in the case.
9. How much time is allowed to make jury strikes once voir dire is completed?
The court has no specific time limits. The court tries to allocate the amount of time requested by counsel. Factors to consider are how long and exhaustive voir dire has been, how many counsel/team members have been helping with voir dire, the nature of the case, and impending deadlines (such as a 5:00 p.m. deadline with jurors who need to leave).
10. Please list three “do’s” and three “don’t’s” for jury selection in your Court.
1. Ask lots of open-ended questions -- let the jurors talk -- listen to what they are saying.
2. Be considerate of true hardships in agreeing to release some jurors.
3. DO try to use the process to learn about the jurors, as opposed to trying to persuade them to a particular point of view.
1. Don’t leave your common sense, humility, consideration of others, and personality at the office (if you don’t have any of these traits, bring co-counsel).
2. Don’t EVER move to strike or say “we’ll agree to let him go” or “Judge, we can let Juror 1 go” in front of any prospective jurors.
3. Don’t try to commit a juror to an outcome (e.g., “Will you promise to award punitive damages if we present evidence justifying an award?”)
CAMERAS IN THE COURTROOM
The Court follows Misc. Docket No. 92-0067 of the Supreme Court of Texas approved March 11, 1992, regarding procedures for electronic media coverage. Copies may be obtained from the Deputy Clerks, the Administrator and the text is available under "Media" through the Court's Bulletin Board link above.
Uniform Level 1 and 2 Scheduling Orders require mediation 30 days before trial. The parties are to choose their own mediator or notify the Court so one can be appointed. If the parties are opposed to mediation, they must notify the Court of the reasons for such opposition. It is the Court's policy to require mediation of all cases, but not to force parties to mediate if good reason exists not to mediate. If the file does not reflect that a mediator has been selected at the time the Court Administrator sends the 30-day trial notice, the Court will appoint a mediator.
Judge Moyé also encourages use of the collaborative law process for appropriate cases. Information regarding collaborative law may be found at http://www.collaborativelaw.us/
The 14th accepts fax filings to the Court only with prior permission. DO NOT FAX PLEADINGS, MOTIONS OR BRIEFS TO THE COURT WITHOUT PERMISSION. The Court regularly faxes messages and orders to counsel and often requests a reply by fax. The court's direct fax line in the Administrator's office is 214-653-6001. The court does not have the capacity to handle large faxes.
The Court discourages use of email except for Bar Activities and related matters, and except when documents may be transmitted to the Court and other parties upon specific request (e.g., proposed jury instructions). Email should be used only upon special request in order to avoid improper communications with the Court.
COPIES TO COUNSEL/PRO SE PARTIES
Any communication to the Court, even a cover letter, should copy the opposing counsel and pro se parties. This includes faxes and email.
USE OF COURTROOM
Counsel/parties are welcome to use the courtroom for purposes of preparing for trial, including use of the technology, provided court is not in session. Contact the Deputy Clerks or the Administrator to determine an appropriate time.
NAME CHANGES (no handled exclusively by Family Courts)
MOTION TO RELEASE TRUST FUNDS (minors)
The party to receive the funds must provide a copy of a valid drivers license, certified birth certificate, and an affidavit stating that he or she is the person entitled to the funds.
OPEN DOOR POLICY
If you have a question about procedures, PLEASE ASK -- we are here to serve. Remember, however, that we cannot give legal advice and cannot have ex parte communications about cases. When in doubt, put your question in writing and copy your opponents. Please also make suggestions on how we can improve the efficiency and user-friendliness of our Court.