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August 7, 2020

The Texas Supreme Court in its 23rd emergency order posted Friday
extended to October 31 the deadline for paying annual Texas bar dues
to avoid automatic license suspension. Under the latest order lawyers will
be subject to suspension November 1 if their dues are not paid by the end
of October. The payment deadline had been August 31.

Read the order here.

Find all the Court's orders here.


August 6, 2020

In its' 22nd emergency order the Texas Supreme Court extended until October 1
the limits on jury proceedings in previous pandemic-related orders. In pertinent
part the latest order specifies that the Office of Court Administration, in coordination
with the regional presiding judges and local administrative judges, should assist trial courts in conducting a limited number of jury proceedings before October 1,
whether in-person or remote proceedings involving grand and petit jurors,
and no later than August 28 must outline recommendations to the
Texas Supreme Court regarding jury proceedings.

Access the order here.

Find all the Court's orders here.


August 4, 2020

Texas Attorney General Opinion No. KP-0322  RE: County authority to
require facial coverings in courtrooms, courthouses, and county
buildings 

Read the opinion here.


July 31, 2020

In its' 21st emergency order posted, the Texas Supreme Court extended
until September 15 the limitations on civil case filings and service of them for
deadlines that fall between March 13, 2020, and September 1. As with previous
orders, the extensions do not include deadlines for perfecting appeal or for other
appellate proceedings.

Access the order here.

Find all the Court's orders here.


July 21, 2020

The Texas Supreme Court issued its' 20th Emergency Order,
RE: all eviction proceedings filed from March 27, 2020, through
August 24, 2020.

Access the order here.

Find all the Court's orders here.  


July 17, 2020

Capital Area Trial Lawyer Association Jury Trial Update
As of July 8, 2020 the Travis County Civil District & County Court Judges
published a press release detailing a pilot program for resuming jury trials
via Zoom beginning in August 2020.  The pilot program will conduct jury
selection and jury trials completely remote for civil lawsuits.  The pilot program
is put together by the Office of Court Administration and the
Austin Bar Association’s Jury Task Force.
 
The Austin Bar Association is hosting two (2) webinars regarding the
Travis County Pilot Program on July 27. The webinar are free and
open for registration.
 
CLICK HERE for information on the July 27 webcast.

Access the CATLA Jury Trial Update Page here.


June 29, 2020

In its 18th emergency order issued Monday the Texas Supreme Court
amended existing provisions from the previous emergency May 26 order.


The order makes these notable changes:

- Modifications of civil- and criminal-case deadlines and procedures
extended no later than September 30. 

- Extends ban on jury proceedings to September 1.

- Extends deadline to September 1 for limited jury proceedings. 

- Civil-case filing and service deadlines extended to September 15. 

- Deadlines in child-protection cases.
 
Other deadlines:
- Eliminates further deadline extensions on attorney-discipline and -disability cases
and specifies that hearings may be conducted remotely.

- Eliminates deadline extensions for Judicial Branch Certification
Commission-sanctioned issuance or renewal of certifications, licenses or
registrations or for fulfilling mandatory continuing education.

The order continues its admonition that courts must not conduct in-person
proceedings contrary to guidance by the Office of Court Administration and,
before conducting in-person proceedings, must submit a plan that complies with
the Office of Court Administration’s requirements.

This latest emergency order expires August 31 unless the chief justice extends it.

Read the order here.

Find all the Court's orders here.


June 26, 2020

Governor Greg Abbott today (6/26) issued an executive order limiting
certain businesses and services as part of the state’s efforts to contain
the spread of COVID-19. 

The order includes the following:

  • All bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51% of their
    gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages are required to close
    at 12:00 PM today. These businesses may remain open for delivery and
    take-out, including for alcoholic beverages, as authorized by the Texas
    Alcoholic Beverage Commission. 
  • Restaurants may remain open for dine-in service, but at a capacity
    not to exceed 50% of total listed indoor occupancy, beginning
    Monday, June 29, 2020.
  • Rafting and tubing businesses must close.
  • Outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by
    local governments, with certain exceptions.

Read the order here.


June 24, 2020

The National Center for State Courts Webinar on Poll Results:
Jury Service & Accessing Court Services Remotely in a (Post) Pandemic Texas. 

Watch here.

Access materials here


 

June 9, 2020

ABOTA: Guidance for Conducting Civil Jury Trials During
the COVID-19 Pandemic. "
The American Board of Trial Advocates
has published a comprehensive guide to conducting civil jury trials during
the COVID-19 pandemic. The white paper, Guidance for Conducting
Civil Jury Trials During the COVID-19 Pandemic
,
 is a legal resource to
address the process of reopening courts and the many issues faced by
the courts, the legal community, jurors and the public."

Access here.


 

May 29, 2020


CDC: COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings

Access the recommendations here.
 


May 27, 2020

In its 17th emergency order issued  the Texas Supreme Court
amended existing provisions
from the omnibus
emergency April 27 order.

Find the 17th Emergency Order here.

Find all the Court's orders here.


May 15, 2020

In two emergency orders prompted by pandemic considerations,
the Texas Supreme Court has ordered:


(1) that residential-eviction proceedings may resume May 19 and
deadlines are no longer postponed and, beginning May 26, warnings
may be posted and possession writs may be executed. For eviction
proceedings filed from March 27 through July 25 a sworn petition
required by Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 510.3(a)(2) establishing eviction
grounds must state that the premises are not subject to the evictions moratorium
imposed by the federal CARES Act section 4024. Section 4024 provides
a temporary moratorium on eviction filings and other protections for tenants
in certain rental properties with federal assistance or federally related financing.
The Court’s order, its 15th emergency order, is effective immediately and
expires July 25 unless the chief justice extends it.

(2) that in any action to collect consumer debt as defined by Texas
Finance Code Section 392.001(2)
, issuance and service of garnishment
writs and turnover orders may resume. But an individual judgment debtor or
receiver shall be entitled, upon request, to a hearing (in person or remotely,
as local circumstances permit) within two business days of the court’s receipt
of the request to determine what money might be attributable to a CARES Act
stimulus payment and courts and appointed receivers must release or refund
that money affected by a garnishment or turnover order.

In addition, the order specifies that receivers and judgment creditors
shall send an additional notice to the judgment debtor that an objection to
a court stay on any stimulus payment can be heard on an “expedited basis.”

This order, the Court’s 16th, expires August 12 unless extended by
the chief justice.

Find Emergency Order 15 here.

Find Emergency Order 16 here.

Find all the Court's orders here.


May 5, 2020

The Texas Supreme Court denied an original mandamus
petition filed by 11 businesses challenging various emergency
coronavirus orders
with this notation: “The petition for writ of
mandamus is denied. The relators’ claims, raised in an original
action in this Court, should first be presented to the appropriate district court.”

Access the opinion here


The Small Business Administration has released updated FAQs
and requirements
for businesses that apply for assistance through the
Paycheck Protection Program.

Click here to access.

If you have questions about how these changes could affect you, we
encourage you to contact your bank or lender.


Issued 5-4-2020: Guidance for Court Proceedings after 6/1

Courts have a responsibility not only to take steps to ensure the health and safety
of those entering a court building for court proceedings, but also to reassure visitors
that the courts are working to ensure visitors’ health and safety so that they feel safe
returning to the courthouse. Because of the courts’ unique ability to compel participants
to attend versus other entities who may open for individuals to voluntarily visit, this
responsibility is even more important. With this in mind, please see the guidance
below for court proceedings held on or after June 1, 2020.

Access here


April 29, 2020

TX Supreme Court Revises Emergency Orders

In the 13th emergency order issued, the Texas Supreme Court has
updated and clarified many of its emergency orders addressing Texas courts’
pandemic issues. Regarding:

  • The Texas bar examination
  • Deadlines for serving garnishment writs

Find the order here.

Find all the Court's orders here


April 27, 2020

TX Supreme Court Revises Emergency Orders

In the 12th emergency order issued, the Texas Supreme Court has
updated and clarified many of its emergency orders addressing Texas courts’
pandemic issues. Regarding:

  • Remote judicial proceedings. 
  • In-person judicial proceedings restricted. 
  • Civil-case deadlines extended. 
  • Deadline extended for eviction proceedings. 

Find the order here.

Find all the Court's orders here


Texas Governor's Strike Force Release Report to Open Texas.

Find the full report here.

View the Governor's Executive Orders issued today:

  • GA-18: Relating to the expanded reopening of services as part
    of the safe, strategic plan to Open Texas in response to the
    COVID-19 disaster.
  • GA-19: Relating to hospital capacity during the COVID-19
    disaster.
  • GA-20: Relating to expanding travel without restrictions as
    part of the safe, strategic plan to Open Texas in response to
    the COVID-19 disaster.

 

April 23, 2020

In re Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, and Ken Paxton, Attorney General
Mandamus petition from Travis County

MANDAMUS RELIEF GRANTED, per curiam opinion


In a challenge to the constitutionality of an executive order by the Governor,
the Supreme Court ultimately decided the plaintiffs lacked standing to
challenge the order.  The opinion and briefs in the case present interesting
analysis on the interplay of the constitution, separation of powers and
executive orders during an unprecedented crisis.

Access:
Opinion
Briefs


 

April 20, 2020

The Texas Office of Court Administration on 4/17 issued updated
guidance on 
conducting court proceedings.

Access here.|


April 13, 2020

Governor Abbott, Goldman Sachs, LiftFund Announce $50 Million in Loans For Texas Small Businesses

Governor Greg Abbott today announced that Goldman Sachs and
the LiftFund, along with other community development financial
institutions (CDFIs), are partnering to provide $50 million in loans to small businesses in Texas that have been affected by COVID-19 as part of
the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.These loans,
made through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck
Protection Program (PPP), will primarily be used for payroll so that
employees can continue to receive paychecks and small businesses
can retain their employees and will be partially or wholly forgiven. 
 

Read the press release here.   

Access LiftFund here.                                                                               


April 9, 2020

Texas Supreme Court Emergency Order 10

Texas Supreme Court has delayed service for garnishment writs to collect consumer debt under Texas Finance Code Section 392.001(2)
before May 8.

Find the order here.


Governor Abbott temporarily suspends certain statutes to allow for appearance before Notary Public via videoconference.

Find the press release here.


April 6, 2020

Texas Supreme Court Emergency Order 9

The Texas Supreme Extends Emergency Order 4, prohibiting a trial, hearing, or other proceeding in an eviction to recover possession of residential property under Chapter 24 of the Property Code and Rule 510 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure until after April 30, 2020.

Find the order here.

See all the Court's Emergency Orders here.


April 2, 2020

The Texas Supreme Court announced today that all features of re:SearchTX will be available for free through at least April 30, 2020.


April 1, 2020

Texas Supreme Court Coronavirus Update

The Supreme Court of Texas amended its initial Emergency Order this week to make deadline extensions mandatory. The initial order was  discretionary. According to the Court, the amended Order says:

 All service and filing deadlines have been delayed in civil cases from March 13 until June 1 unless the chief justice extends it, under a Texas Supreme Court order issued Wednesday, April 1.

 

The tolling does not affect deadlines for filing appeals or other appellate proceedings, but the order notes that requests for any such relief should be “generously granted” by the particular court.

The order can be found here.

See all the Court's Emergency Orders here.


The Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program will present “Remote Well-Being Wednesdays” programs weekly from noon to 1 p.m. The program will cover various topics of well-being for those of us working from home.

April 8 “Recovery During Crisis”—Best-selling author and recovery advocate Brian Cuban will share his story and insight about recovery during this crisis.

April 15 “Staying Healthy, Serene, and Sober During COVID-19”—Laurie Besden, executive director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of Pennsylvania, Inc., and TLAP Director Chris Ritter will take a deeper dive into staying healthy and sober during COVID-19.

To connect on Wednesdays at noon, click here


Voting is now open for the 2020 State Bar of Texas and Texas Young Lawyers Association elections.

Voting will be online only for the 2020 State Bar of Texas and Texas Young Lawyers Association elections because of uncertainty regarding the ability of the State Bar’s election vendor to receive and process paper ballots during the coronavirus pandemic. To ensure members have ample time to vote, the Nominations and Elections Subcommittee of the State Bar Board agreed to extend the voting period by one month. Online ballots will be accepted from April 1 until 5 p.m. CDT May 29. The Supreme Court signed an order  to implement this change. Assistance will be available for those who need help voting online.

Vote here.


March 30, 2020

Updated SBA Application Process

SBA is collecting the requested information in order to make a loan under SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program to the qualified
entities listed in this application that are impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The information will be used in determining whether the applicant is eligible for an economic injury loan.

The application can be found here.


Families First Coronavirus Response Act 
by Nicole Perdue, Perdue & Kidd, L.L.P., Of Counsel

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCRA”). The FFCRA seeks to assist employees impacted by COVID-19 and applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees. The FFCRA provides for, among other things, (1) one new category of paid FMLA leave related to child care disruption due to the current public health emergency and (2) paid sick time for certain reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions take effect on April 1, 2020 and are scheduled to terminate December 31, 2020. The FFCRA also includes related employer tax credits.

The paper can be found here.

US Department of Labor FAQs can be accessed here.


March 27, 2020

The State Bar is collecting “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Orders as a service to members and the public.

The list can be found here.


March 26, 2020

Texas Department of Insurance Commissioner's Bulletin RE: COVID-19: Claim-handling deadlines and premium payments 

On March 20, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott suspended certain claim-handling deadlines imposed by law. Additionally, the Commissioner of Insurance has determined that the COVID-19 pandemic is a disaster under Texas Insurance Code Section 542.059(b)...

Taken together, the Governor’s suspension and the Commissioner’s declaration have the effect of extending claim-handling deadlines imposed by the state’s prompt payment laws for an additional 15 days to help carriers respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. This extension will be in effect until the Governor’s suspension and Commissioner’s declaration are lifted. 

The full bulletin can be found here.


March 25, 2020

Notary Services

The Texas Legislature enacted legislation in 2017 to authorize the use of two-way video and audio conferencing for notary services. More information is available from the National Association of Secretaries of State here.


March 24, 2020

Updated application, access here.
3/30/2020

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has authorized Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) for small businesses. The loans are working capital loans to help small businesses "meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period."

The deadline to apply is December 21, 2020. Click here for more information. Also, download the SBA's Business Resources and Disaster Loan Fact Sheet.




TTLA President Jim Mitchell updated members about TTLA's response to the COVID-19 crisis in his monthly report. Access the report here (login required).


March 23, 2020

The State Bar of Texas has extended deadlines for submitting MCLE. From the State Bar:

We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic is making it difficult for some attorneys to complete their MCLE requirements on time. In response, the State Bar of Texas MCLE Department will grant an automatic 60-day extension to attorneys reaching their compliance deadlines in March, April, or May. Attorneys who missed compliance deadlines in January or February will receive an automatic 60-day extension to prevent the assessment of further fees. Attorneys now subject to suspension for failing to comply with MCLE requirements in November or December will have an additional one-month extension. Please contact the MCLE Department at 800-204-2222, ext. 1806, or mcle@texasbar.com if you have questions about the extensions or MCLE compliance requirements.


March 22, 2020

Supreme Court Emergency Order: 

Because of uncertainty regarding the feasibility of handling paper ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 elections for presidents-elect and directors of the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Young Lawyers Association must be conducted online only, by electronic vote, and not by paper ballot. The voting period is extended to May 29, 2020, at 5:00pm.  

Access the full order here


March 20, 2020

The Texas Supreme Court issued an emergency order suspending residential eviction proceedings through April 19, 2020, unless there is a threat of physical harm or criminal activity.

Access the full order here.


Governor Abbott Announces Approval Of Emergency Designation For Small Business Disaster Loans From U.S. Small Business Administration

Access Governor's Press Release here.

Access the U.S. Small Business Administration Application here.


March 19, 2020

The Attorney General of Texas Catastrophe Notice - Section 552.233 of the Government Code

Pursuant to section 552.233(b) of the Government Code, a governmental body may suspend the applicability of the requirements of the Public Information Act (the “PIA”) if the governmental body is currently impacted by a catastrophe and provides proper notice in accordance with this section.  In order to suspend the requirements of the PIA, a governmental must provide notice to the Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”) in accordance with sections 552.233(c) and 552.233(e) of the Government Code.  The OAG is required to post a copy of a catastrophe notice provided under this section on its website for one calendar year from the date the OAG received a copy of the notice.  

Access here.

Access the Governor's Press Release here.

Access the Attorney General's Press Release here.


The Supreme Court of Texas and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a third Emergency Order this morning. From the Supreme Court of Texas:

In a third emergency order Thursday morning the Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals amended their original joint order to establish court proceedings may be conducted “away from the court’s usual location with reasonable notice and access to the participants and the public.” The change omits reference to the county-venue limitation in the original order so, for example, a judge assigned to an involuntary-quarantine challenge may preside from a location across the state.

The latest order also clarifies that court deadlines and procedures subject to modification or suspension apply specifically to the Texas Family Code’s one-year deadline for dismissing parental-rights-termination suits under Family Code section 263.401.

And the order notes courts must not conduct “non-essential proceedings in person contrary to local, state, or national directives, whichever is most restrictive, regarding maximum group size.”

The order ends no later than 30 days after the governor’s disaster declaration ends.

The full order can be found here.


March 14, 2020

The Supreme Court of Texas and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals have issued an Emergency Order that outlines numerous modifications to deadlines, procedures, and operations that courts can make in response the Governor’s COVID-19 disaster declaration. The full order can be found here.


March 13, 2020

TTLA leaders and staff have been closely monitoring the rapidly changing situation related to the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of our members, sponsors, staff, and their (our) respective communities continue to be our top priority.
 
Therefore, after detailed consultation with TTLA leadership and our event venues, we have made the decision to postpone the following upcoming events:

•    Trial Advocacy College of Texas (TACT)

•    TTLA Advocates CLE Luncheon in Dallas

•    Santa Fe Advanced Tactics & Strategies Seminar (Rescheduled for September 14 - 15)
 
We are working with seminar chairs to find suitable dates for these events in the near future. All current registrations for these programs will be honored. We will notify you of these new dates as soon as possible.

At this time, we intend to hold the TTLA Midyear Conference & CLE Seminar in Houston as scheduled, June 3-5. However, we have a contingency plan for an online conference option should that become necessary. We will continue to monitor the virus’s impact across the state and follow the direction of local, state, and federal health officials as we make decisions about future events.
 
Staff safety will guide decisions about necessary office closures. We have systems and contingency plans in place that allow staff to maintain a high level of productivity and member service while working remotely.
 
Finally, we urge you to take precautionary measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and create plans for your own law firms and families. Likewise, be sure to monitor potential disruptions to courthouse operations by staying in contact with local court administrators and referring to the Office of Court Administration's list of reported courthouse closures here.


March 11, 2020

TTLA continues to monitor the rapidly changing situation related to the spread of COVID-19. We understand that concerns for health and safety are affecting our members. The safety of our members, staff and community is our top priority. We urge you to take basic precautionary measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

To address concerns you may have, we have prepared the following FAQs regarding our response to COVID-19. We will be update this page as more information becomes available.

Has TTLA canceled or rescheduled any meetings or events?

All TTLA meetings and events are continuing as scheduled. We intend to follow the direction of local, state, and federal health officials as we make decisions about any schedule changes. The venues that are hosting our upcoming TACT College and Santa Fe seminar are taking steps to maintain all appropriate sanitary, health, and safety measures. We further encourage event attendees to follow guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. If there are any changes to event schedules, we will provide information to registrants about virtual options that may be available and/or other specific details as soon as possible. 

What steps should attorneys take?

We encourage you develop plans for your office or firm. Affected areas could see widespread restrictions on travel and/or quarantines. So, it is prudent to have arrangements for your staff to work remotely.

Courthouse operations may be affected. We recommend staying in contact with county and district clerks and court administrators to determine whether there are any disruptions to courthouse operations. Also, the Office of Court Administration maintains a list of reported courthouse closures here.

The State Bar of Texas has issued this guidance: "If you or a client has an illness, or if you believe you or a client may have been exposed to the coronavirus, the judiciary is asking that you notify the court before making a court appearance so that appropriate actions can be taken."

Has COVID-19 affected TTLA's normal operations?

TTLA’s office continues to operate normally. Staff is to working remotely to minimize any disruption to member services.

Additional Resources:

Irving Convention Center (TACT) 

La Fonda on the Plaza (Santa Fe)