Law & the Media in Texas — Civil Procedure

The Civil Process

 Civil Procedure

Civil courts handle many different kinds of disputes. By way of example, matters may arise in civil court for these reasons:

1.To contend that a breach of contract has taken place and to request compensation and release from the contract.

2.To contend that personal injury or property damage has occurred as a result of the actions of the accused party and to request compensation.

3.To seek injunctive relief.

4.To dissolve marriages, determine child custody and property issues and to grant adoptions.

5.To probate wills and estates.

6.To handle tax disputes.

The party filing a petition that originates a civil suit is the plaintiff. The party being sued is the defendant.

The original petition is filed in the office of the district or county clerk. These petitions are available to the public, including reporters, although they are not privileged until they are presented at the time of trial.

The original petition may be amended by the filing of additional petitions. In the meantime a cross action may be initiated by the defendant. Such pleadings serve to narrow the controversy toward a single issue, affirmed by one side and denied by the other. That sets the stage for the trial or for an out-of-court settlement.

Interrogatories and depositions are a major part of the civil process. They are not privileged until they are introduced as evidence at a trial.

Rules of Civil Procedure are set by the Supreme Court of Texas.