Here is the final installment of the two-part comprehensive summary of the new Rules for Expedited Actions recently approved by the Texas Supreme Court. The new Rules can be found in their entirety here.
This is part one of a two-part comprehensive summary of the new Rules for Expedited Actions recently approved by the Texas Supreme Court. The new Rules can be found in their entirety here.
The new Texas expedited trial rules are set to go into effect on March 1, 2013. The new rules affect pleadings, discovery, and the ADR process in cases valued at under $100,000.00. Before this rule, courts had the ability to order cases to mediation. New Rule 169 will allow parties to agree not to go to mediation and the court will have to honor that agreement. The Texas Supreme Court, however, did give courts the discretion on sending cases to mediation where at least one side requests to mediate. The parties can always agree to go to mediation or be required by contract to mediate, but can no longer be ordered to mediate if there is no agreement. This new rule does not affect those cases pre-suit or where the damages sought are over $100,000.00. The absence of the court's ability to order mediation could result in fewer cases going through the ADR process and this could result in an increasing number of trials burdening the court's docket.
The United States Government may seem all-knowing and powerful, but in truth, it is often susceptible to fraud and deception. Everyday, especially during tax season, individuals or companies attempt to defraud the government in order to receive or avoid paying money. To combat this fact, the U.S. decided to pass the False Claims Act which incentivizes the disclosure of fraudulent activities by rewarding citizens who come forward with information a percentage of any recovered funds. Since its enactment in 1987, the government has recovered over $30 billion of fraudulent funds. Nearly $3.5 billion of that amount has been paid out to the citizens who helped uncover the fraud.
In Texas, there are two elements that must be present when determining the validity of non-compete agreements: (1) the non-compete agreement must be ancillary to an otherwise enforceable agreement and (2) the non-compete agreement must contain reasonable limitations that are not too burdensome.
The Texas expedited trial rules are expected to go into effect this March. Cases involving $100,000 or less in damages will fall under these new rules. The calculation of $100,000 includes all of your damages, even attorney's fees, but it doesn't include post-judgment interest. If the case involves nonmonetary damages, then it will not fall under the rules. The process for handling written discovery will change. Parties will be limited in the amount of written discovery that can be exchanged. Additionally, the total trial will now only last 10 hours. A party will have 5 hours to complete voir dire, opening, examinations, and close.