Pleadings and pretrial matters

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Pleadings and pretrial matters

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Pleadings and pretrial matters

  1. 1. Pretrial Matters: Pleadings & Motions © Professor Mathis-Rutledge
  2. 2. After the client interview <ul><li>Analyze facts – determine duties of parties </li></ul><ul><li>What are the provable facts </li></ul><ul><li>What was the harm or injury </li></ul><ul><li>What remedies are you seeking </li></ul>
  3. 3. Need More Info. <ul><li>Discovery Before the Lawsuit </li></ul><ul><li>Rule 202 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure </li></ul><ul><li>File a petition for deposition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Purpose: to investigate potential claim </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The Civil Process <ul><li>A lawsuit is filed – “the complaint” </li></ul><ul><li>An answer must be filed by the respondent </li></ul><ul><li>Discovery process – interrogatories, depositions, request for production </li></ul><ul><li>If case not disposed of – summary judgment: </li></ul><ul><li>Trial </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Criminal Process <ul><li>The prosecution begins – the information or indictment </li></ul><ul><li>Arraignment in front of judge or magistrate defendant answers guilty or not guilty </li></ul><ul><li>No formal discovery process </li></ul><ul><li>The defendant is allowed to file discovery motions </li></ul><ul><li>If motion to suppress or quash indictment is not granted: trial </li></ul>
  6. 6. Criminal v. Civil Law Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Preponderance of the Evidence or Clear and Convincing Evidence Burden of Proof Guilt Liability Defendant’s Loss Punishment Damages to Compensate for Loss Penalty Indictment/Information Petition/Complaint Initiating Document whether one party has violated the laws meant to protect society as a whole whether one party has harmed another Nature of the Case Government & Individuals or Businesses Prosecutor/Defendant Individuals or Businesses Plaintiff/Defendant Petitioner/Respondent Parties Involved Criminal Civil
  7. 7. Going to court & filing suit <ul><li>Which court(s) have jurisdiction </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare the petition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Caption (name of case and court) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Residences and names of parties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Statement of facts to give notice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demand for relief sought (in alternative or combination) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Signature of attorney of record, state bar #, address & phone number </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In Texas, the firt signature is included “the attorney in charge” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Submit to court <ul><li>Original petition </li></ul><ul><li>Copy of petition for each defendant </li></ul><ul><li>Check for filing fee </li></ul>
  9. 9. Before the answer <ul><li>Before entering an appearance – certain responsive pleadings should be filed </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge to jurisdiction – special appearance </li></ul><ul><li>Motion to Transfer venue </li></ul>
  10. 10. The Answer <ul><li>Challenge jurisdiction </li></ul><ul><li>Specific denials </li></ul><ul><li>General denials </li></ul><ul><li>Affirmative Defenses </li></ul><ul><li>Signature by attorney of record, telephone, address, state bar number </li></ul><ul><li>Certificate of service </li></ul>
  11. 11. Sample Documents <ul><li>Form books </li></ul><ul><li>Procedure books </li></ul><ul><li>Firm pleading banks </li></ul>
  12. 12. Pre-Trial Motions & Memoranda <ul><li>Filed in the trial court (district court) </li></ul><ul><li>Motion – device to request an order </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Motion to compel; motion for sanctions; motion for continuance </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>After a motion is filed, the other party may respond </li></ul><ul><li>Each party must file a brief – or memorandum of law </li></ul><ul><li>The memo should explain why the party should prevail </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Describes & analyzes legal authorities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes the parties’ arguments </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. When Filed? <ul><li>Motions can be filed at almost any point during the litigation. </li></ul><ul><li>Motions before the trial are generically called “pretrial motions.” </li></ul>
  15. 15. Who Files? <ul><li>Any party may file </li></ul><ul><li>The party who files is called the movant </li></ul><ul><li>The other party is the respondent or non-movant </li></ul>
  16. 16. Audience <ul><li>Primary is the trial judge </li></ul><ul><li>Secondary audience: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Judge’s clerk </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opposing counsel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other attorneys in your firm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your client </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Possibly an appellate court </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Purposes <ul><li>Persuade the court </li></ul><ul><li>Educate the court </li></ul><ul><li>Inform opposing counsel of position </li></ul><ul><li>Show client work performed on its behalf </li></ul>
  18. 18. Parts of a Pretrial Memorandum or Brief <ul><li>Caption </li></ul><ul><li>Title </li></ul><ul><li>Introductory statement </li></ul><ul><li>Facts </li></ul><ul><li>Issue(s) </li></ul><ul><li>Arguments & authorities </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Signature block </li></ul><ul><li>certificate of service </li></ul><ul><li>affidavits & evidence </li></ul>
  19. 19. Pretrial motions <ul><li>Motion to Dismiss </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Texas: something wrong with the lawsuit that entitles defendant to dismissal if problem is not cured </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Failure to prosecute, lack of jurisdiction, failure to comply with discovery </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Federal (Rule 12(b)(6) – failure to state a claim </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Summary Judgment <ul><li>General </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Filed if there is an absence of a genuine issue of material fact and movant is entitled to win as a matter of law </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Standard – evidence must be construed in the light most favorable to the non-movant. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on depositions, affidavits of admissible facts, interrogatories, other discovery responses, stipulations and public records </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Summary Judgment <ul><li>Summary Judgment </li></ul><ul><li>Texas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No evidence under Rule 166a </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Alleging no evidence to support one or more of the specified elements </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“Regular” Motion for Summary Judgment </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Local Rules <ul><li>Always consult local court rules. </li></ul><ul><li>Surfing assignment: </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.txs.uscourts.gov/ </li></ul><ul><li>Look practice/ judge’s procedures </li></ul>

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