For Lawyers

Statutes Regarding Court Proceedings During and After Disasters

With the closure or possible closure of certain courts in the South Texas region due to impending Hurricane Alex, attorneys are reminded of the following statutes:

1) Application for Writ of Injunction - Hearing by Nonresident District Judge

An attorney may ask a nonresident district judge to hear an application for a writ of injunction if the resident judge "cannot hear and act on the application because of his absence, sickness, inability, inaccessibility, or disqualification." (See section 65.022, Civil and Practice and Remedies Code);

2) Location of Proceedings Following Certain Disasters

If a disaster precludes a district court, statutory county court, statutory probate court, or constitutional county court in a first tier or second tier coastal county from hearing proceedings at the county seat of that county, the presiding judge of the administrative judicial region, with the approval of the affected court, may designate an alternate location at which the court may conduct its proceedings. (See sections 24.033, 25.0019, 25.0032, and 26.009, Government Code); and

3) Hearing Cases - Section 74.094, Government Code

Sec. 74.094. HEARING CASES.

(a) A district or statutory county court judge may hear and determine a matter pending in any district or statutory county court in the county regardless of whether the matter is preliminary or final or whether there is a judgment in the matter. The judge may sign a judgment or order in any of the courts regardless of whether the case is transferred. The judgment, order, or action is valid and binding as if the case were pending in the court of the judge who acts in the matter. The authority of this subsection applies to an active, former, or retired judge assigned to a court having jurisdiction as provided by Subchapter C.

(b) The judges shall try any case and hear any proceeding as assigned by the local administrative judge.

(c) The clerk shall file, docket, transfer, and assign the cases as directed by the local administrative judge in accordance with the local rules.

(d) Judges of district courts and statutory county courts may serve as masters and magistrates of courts, other than their own, subject to other provisions of law and court rules.

(e) A judge who has jurisdiction over a suit pending in one county may, unless objected to by any party, conduct any of the judicial proceedings except the trial on the merits in a different county.

(f) A pretrial judge assigned to hear pretrial matters in related cases under Rule 11, Texas Rules of Judicial Administration, may hold pretrial proceedings and hearings on pretrial matters for a case to which the judge has been assigned in:

(1) the county in which the case is pending; or

(2) a county in which there is pending a related case to which the pretrial judge has been assigned.

Article Options