FAQ - Filing FAQs

 

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FILING FAQs

  1. How do I file a suit in Federal Court?

    Please see General Civil Filing Information and Opening a Civil Case/Filing a Complaint.

  2. How do I file after hours?

    Please see Emergency Filing Information on our ECF web page, or contact the divisional office where your case is pending.

  3. Will the Clerk's Office issue a subpoena when the case is in another district, but the person being deposed is within a 100-mile radius of our court?

    An attorney may issue the subpoena if he/she is admitted to practice in the district where the case is filed. Otherwise, the parties may file a copy of the Notice of Deposition (with the other district's case number) in our court with the filing fee for a foreign subpoena (which is filed as a miscellaneous case).  Please see Fee Schedule for applicable fee.

  4. Can an attorney issue a civil subpoena?

    Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 45, an attorney may issue a subpoena on behalf of a court in which the attorney is authorized to practice or a court for a district in which a deposition or production is compelled if it pertains to an action in a court where the attorney is authorized to practice. If a party does not have an attorney (or if the party prefers), the Clerk's Office will issue the subpoena.

  5. Who issues and serves summonses?

    The Clerk's Office issues summonses. In general, the plaintiff is responsible for service. Service may be effected by anyone over the age of 18 who is not a party to the suit. Please see Fed. R. Civ. P. 4. Certified mail with return receipt requested is considered good service in Texas. The U.S. Marshal Service will serve a summons if ordered by a judge. Please see Service of Process on The United States, Its Agencies, Corporations or Officers.

  6. What is a Certificate of Interested Persons and what are the filing requirements?

    A Certificate of Interested Persons is described in LR 3.1(f).  It should be filed in accordance with LR 3.1, LR 7.4, LR 81.1, and LR 81.2.

  7. May I fax a filing?

    The Clerk's Office does not accept faxed filings.

  8. What is a deficient filing?

    The Clerk's Office is required to check incoming documents and identify filings that do not conform to the Federal and/or Local Rules. When deficiencies are found, a deputy clerk completes a Notice of Deficiency form and forwards it to the judge. Also, see General Civil Filing Information.

  9. What discovery materials should be filed with the Clerk's Office?

    Generally, discovery is not accepted for filing in the Northern District of Texas. Discovery materials in dispute will be accepted with an appropriate motion. Also, when discovery materials are necessary for consideration of a pretrial motion, a party must file portions of the materials on which the party relies to support or oppose the motion. See Fed.R.Civ.P.5(d) and Local Civil Rules.

  10. Are there special requirements for filing a suit against the federal government?

    Please see Guide for Filing Federal Suits Against the United States, an Agency Official or an Employee of the United States Government.

  11. What are the requirements for removing a case from state court?

    Please see Guide for Filing a Notice of Removal.

  12. What is the significance of the number and letter in my case number?

    Each action is assigned a case number by the District Clerk's Office. The case number is composed of five parts. The first digit is the division where the case was filed (1: Abilene, 2: Amarillo, 3: Dallas, 4: Fort Worth, 5: Lubbock, 6: San Angelo, and 7: Wichita Falls). After the division number and colon is the year the case was filed (e.g., 98, 99) and "cv" for civil or "cr" for criminal. This is followed by the sequential case number, a hyphen, and the alpha designation of the presiding judge.

    Sample Case Number: 3:08-CV-0001-P

    This sample would be the first civil case filed in the Dallas Division in 2008, and it would be assigned to Judge Solis. See Judge Letter Designations.

  13. How are judges assigned to cases?

    In divisions with more than one judge, they are randomly chosen by a computer database, similar to a deck of cards. When one judge is assigned, the 'cards' are shuffled again for the next selection. The Clerk's Office has no discretion in the assignment of cases.

  14. What is the current filing fee for a new suit?

    Please refer to the court's Fee Schedule for a list of fees for new suits.

  15. How many copies of each document do I file?

    If you are filing on paper, an original plus one copy is required. The Clerk's Office will retain the original for the case file and send a copy to the judge. If you want a file-stamped copy for your records, submit an additional copy (i.e., an original plus two copies).

    If you are filing electronically, copy requirements vary by judge.  Please see the Judge's Copy Requirements for Electronic Filing.

  16. How much is a witness fee?

    Please refer to 28 USC § 1821. The witness fee is currently $40.00 per day. Please click on the following links to view current mileage and maximum subsistence allowances.