Required Initial Disclosures Under the New Rules of Civil Procedure
On August 21, 2020, the Texas Supreme Court amended several Rules of Civil Procedure (sometimes referred to as the “Rules” or as a “Rule”). Following public comment, the Court made revisions to those rules and also revised other rules for consistency. The amendments apply to cases filed on or after January 1, 2021, except for those filed in justice court. The prior versions of the rules amended by this Order continue to govern procedures and limitations in cases filed before January 1, 2021.
The required initial disclosures under the new rules differ from the prior request for disclosures.
A. Initial Disclosures are required within 30 days of an answer being filed.
A party must make the initial disclosures at or within 30 days after the filing of the first answer unless a different time is set by the parties’ agreement or court order. A party that is first served or otherwise joined after the filing of the first answer must make the initial disclosures within 30 days after being served or joined, unless a different time is set by the parties’ agreement or court order. Tex.R.Civ.P. 194.2(a).
B. Required Disclosures include a requirement for initial document production of all documents supporting claims and defenses.
The primary changes in the new required disclosures from the prior request for disclosure rule are the required initial document production (similar to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26) and the removal of expert disclosures to a separate required disclosure. Tex.R.Civ.P. 194.2(b). Tex.R.Civ.P. 194.2(c) specifies certain disclosures under the Family Code not addressed in this paper. Without awaiting a discovery request, a party must provide to the other parties (note significant changes are in bold):
(1) the correct names of the parties to the lawsuit;
(2) the name, address, and telephone number of any potential parties;
(3) the legal theories and, in general, the factual bases of the responding party’s claims or defenses (the responding party need not marshal all evidence that may be offered at trial);
(4) the amount and any method of calculating economic damages;
(5) the name, address, and telephone number of persons having knowledge of relevant facts, and a brief statement of each identified person’s connection with the case;
(6) a copy-or a description by category and location-of all documents, electronically stored information, and tangible things that the responding party has in its possession, custody, or control, and may use to support its claims or defenses, unless the use would be solely for impeachment;
(7) any indemnity and insuring agreements described in Rule 192.3(f);
(8) any settlement agreements described in Rule 192.3(g);
(9) any witness statements described in Rule 192.3(h);
(10) in a suit alleging physical or mental injury and damages from the occurrence that is the subject of the case, all medical records and bills that are reasonably related to the injuries or damages asserted or, in lieu thereof, an authorization permitting the disclosure of such medical records and bills;
(11) in a suit alleging physical or mental injury and damages from the occurrence that is the subject of the case, all medical records and bills obtained by the responding party by virtue of an authorization furnished by the requesting party; and
(12) the name, address, and telephone number of any person who may be designated as a responsible third party.Id.
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