Justice of the Peace 3-1
Notice of New Discovery Control Plan
10056 Marsh Lane, Suite 132, North Dallas Government Center, Dallas, Texas 75229-6017
The Texas Supreme Court issued a rewrite of the discovery rules for all civil suits filed in Texas, effective January 1, 1999. In this rewrite, the Supreme Court has issued a mandate that every civil case filed after January 1, 1999, shall be governed by a Discovery Control Plan. This requirement should not affect cases filed specifically as Small Claims cases, which are subject to a statutory discovery rule. You may want to seek legal advice if filing cases in Justice Court.
Justice Court cases will, by definition, be subject to a Level I plan. Level I is restricted to any suit in which the plaintiff is seeking only monetary relief of $50,000, or less, excluding costs, pre-judgment interest, and attorney=s fees. (Rule 190.2). A Justice Court suit could be subject to either of the other levels if the parties request it and the court permits it. (Rule 190.2(b)). When a plaintiff files suit in Justice Court, the first paragraph of the petition must state that discovery will be conducted under LEVEL I, LEVEL II, OR LEVEL III. (Rule 190.1).
The discovery period begins when suit is filed and continues until 30 days before the trial date, unless an amended or supplemental pleading timely filed causes the discovery period to reopen. (Rule 190.2(b)). Depositions may total not more than six hours for each party, which may be expanded by agreement up to ten hours total. (Rule 190.2(c)(2)).
There can be no more than 25 written interrogatories per party served on the opposing party. (Rule 190.2(c)(3)). If the discovery period is reopened, a person previously deposed may be re-deposed. A trial date may be continued if necessary on motion of any party. (Rule 190.2(d)).
LEVELS II AND III
The parties to a civil action may agree to be governed by Level II (Rule 190.3); and the court shall order, on a party=s motion for good cause shown, or the court may order, on it=s own initiative, discovery under Level III (Rule 190.4). If the court orders a Plan under Rule 190.4, the Plan must include several specific items, including a trial date, discovery deadline, appropriate limits on the amount of discovery, and deadlines for joining additional parties, amending pleadings, and designating expert witnesses. (Rule 190.4(b)).