In August 2020, The Texas Supreme Court issued multiple administrative orders to change civil procedures that impact both discovery and service rules. For parties seeking to file with Espronceda, this means much faster processing times for new cases in 2021. Here are some of the biggest changes that could impact your case:

Full List of Rules Revised:

  • 47, 99, 106, 108a, 169, 190, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198

Modernized Rules of Service (Rule 106):

  1. The Texas Supreme Court has updated the rules governing the formal service of citations to initiate a lawsuit. This takes effect one day before the new discovery rules for 2021 and, if left unanswered, can lead to a default judgment. 
  2. Plaintiffs will now be able to file a motion requesting alternative service if process servers can’t locate defendants in person. This includes electronic service such as email, social media, or other forms of technology. 
  3. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms can be used to post lawsuits if there is evidence that a defendant uses these platforms and would likely see that there is a case filed against them. 
  4. Any plaintiff using these forms of alternative service should save any past direct messages, comments, or posts that prove the defendant uses these platforms. 

Discovery and Disclosures (Rule 190):

  1. Level 1 discovery now applies to expedited actions and divorces
    involving $250,000 or less.
  2. In Level 1 discovery, the discovery period begins when the first initial disclosures are due and lasts for 180 days from that date. Each party is now
    allowed 20 hours in total for depositions. The parties may not expand time for
    depositions without a court order.
  3. In Level 2 discovery, the discovery period begins when the first initial
    disclosures are due and lasts: in cases under the Family Code, until 30 days from trial; or, in other cases, the earlier of 30 days from trial or nine
    months after the date the first initial disclosures are due.

Discovery Regarding Testifying Expert Witnesses (Rule 195):

  1. Rule 194 mandates three types of disclosures: initial disclosures, testifying expert disclosures, and pretrial disclosures.
  2. Testifying expert accounts are due 90 days before trial for any party seeking affirmative relief. Their testimonies are due 60 days before trial in other cases. 
  3. The content of expert disclosures closely mirrors the requirements for testifying experts in the former requests for disclosures.
  4. The party must disclose: the expert’s qualifications and a list of all publications authored in the previous 10 years; a list of cases in which the expert has testified as an expert in the previous 4 years (except when the expert is the responding party’s attorney and is testifying to attorney fees); and a statement of compensation to be paid for the expert’s work in the case.

Expansion of Expedited Actions (169):

  1. Fast-track rules now apply to suits up to $250K (the limit used to be $50,000). This threshold excludes interest, punitive or statutory damages and penalties, attorney fees, and costs. 
  2. Discovery for level 1 cases have to be set to go to trial within 90 days of discovery closing and all expedited actions must be completed within 180 days (or 6 months) after the deadline for initial disclosures. 
  3. Instead of six hours, each party now has 20 hours for depositions beginning in 2021. 

Bottom Line

The new revisions have been implemented to update civil proceedings to the current times. For some, this could mean more hassle, more headaches, and more money. At Espronceda, we see them as an advantage to get the case done fast and more efficiently. Contact our office by phone or email to discuss how these new rules could impact your specific situation.

Contact Attorney Jennifer Espronceda Today

Espronceda Law, PLLC, handles a variety of family law cases, including divorce, child support, and child support modifications. At Espronceda Law, we focus on your needs to provide the most effective legal solutions. We are committed to ensuring that the people of San Antonio have fair and honest legal representation, and with our diverse background in a multitude of practice areas, we can guide you through the thicket of legal issues in a manner specifically tailored to your needs and goals.

Jennifer Espronceda, founder of Espronceda Law, was born and raised in San Antonio, TX, and is fully licensed by the Texas Supreme Court. She originally received her undergraduate degree with honors from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi and her law degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Now, Jennifer is teaching the next generation of legal minds at the Institute for Law and Public Affairs at the University of Texas in San Antonio (UTSA).

If you are in need of legal representation, don’t hesitate to contact us today.