Texas Supreme Court Advisory
Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Contact: Osler McCarthy, court staff attorney for public information 512.463.1441.

Order Issued to Allow Filing Deadlines to Be Extended Because of Ike Closings and Second Order Allows Louisiana Attorneys Displaced to Serve Clients from Texas

The Texas Supreme Court issued an order Wednesday providing for extended deadlines to file pleadings and other matters because of courthouse closures and other effects from Hurricane Ike. In a separate order the Court allows Louisiana attorneys displaced by hurricane damage to work from Texas to serve clients in their home state.

In the order providing greater time for certain filings, accompanied by a per curiam opinion, the Court provides that good cause can exist if a clerk's office is closed and that courts should consider an attorney's dislocation and hardship when considering requests to expand time limits set by court rules. It notes that statutes allow alternative locations within the same judicial district to conduct judicial proceedings outside counties affected by disaster. Proceedings at these alternative locations must be by the parties' agreement and trials on the merits are excluded.

The Court's order, in effect until October 31, cautions that statutory deadlines cannot be extended if a statute does not provide for extension by rule.

In the second order, the Court permits Louisiana lawyers to practice law from makeshift Texas locations for the next 30 days. It also allows out-of-state legal-aid attorneys to practice law with Texas legal-aid programs for 30 days.