Texas Supreme Court Issues New Rules, Makes Expedited Actions Mandatory
The Texas Supreme Court has issued its long-awaited rules for expedited actions this week, making the process mandatory in cases of $100,000 or less. The rules are being adopted as a result of Texas legislation that called upon the Court to promulgate "rules to promote the prompt, efficient, and cost-effective resolution of civil actions." The Court appointed a Task Force to propose rule changes for such expedited actions. The Task Force issued its final report in January 2012. Because the Task Force was unable to come to an agreement regarding whether the process should be mandatory or voluntary, the Task Force submitted two separate sets of rules for the Court's consideration. In the new rules, the expedited process is mandatory for cases where relief is limited to “$100,000 or less, including damages of any kind, penalties, costs, expenses, pre-judgment interest, and attorney fees.” The expedited proceeding includes an expedited pretrial process, limits on discovery, and an expedited trial limited to five hours per side. The new rules are scheduled to go into effect March 1, 2013, although they may be changed in response to comments received on or before February 1, 2013.