Management Procedures | Motion
Practice | Discovery | Trial Procedures | Misc
Procedures | Law Clerk/Extern
Senior District Judge Sam R. Cummings
Filing documents electronically is not mandatory.
I. Case Management
- Preliminary Pretrial Conference ("Rule
Judge Cummings does not conduct a preliminary pretrial conference.
- Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(f) Conference
By scheduling order, no Rule 26(f) conference is required.
- Status Report/Scheduling Order
No status report is required. Judge Cummings' scheduling order
establishes deadlines for filing motions to join parties
and amend pleadings and filing
motions for summary judgment. The order also sets the case for trial.
- Referrals to Magistrate Judges
The form titled "Consent to Proceed Before a United States
Magistrate Judge" is available from the Clerk's
- Pretrial Order
All counsel shall jointly prepare a proposed pretrial order for
the Court to enter, which will contain the following:
- a summary of the claims and defenses of each party;
- a statement of stipulated facts;
- an estimate of the length of trial;
- a list of additional matters which would aid in the disposition of the case;
- the signature of each counsel; and
- a place for the date and signature of the Court.
Counsel are ordered to
confer prior to the date of submission of the proposed pretrial
order, and a certificate shall be attached to the proposed order,
signed by counsel, stating that such a conference has
been held, the stipulations are agreed upon, and that the proposed
pretrial order is submitted to the Court for entry. Failure
to agree upon the wording or terms of the proposed order will
not be an excuse for not filing same, but counsel may
place in such order their respective versions of the matters
to be included.
The pretrial order is due at least 21 days
before the scheduled date for trial.
- Final Pretrial Conference
If a pretrial conference is deemed necessary,
counsel will notify the Court Coordinator at the time
of filing the proposed pretrial order, or sooner, and the Court
will, at the Court's discretion, schedule such a
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- Requirements for Specific Motions
- Summary Judgment
Judge Cummings' scheduling
order establishes the deadline for filing a motion for summary
Motions for continuance are rarely granted.
- Removal Actions
In removal actions, parties must re-urge
any motions that were filed in state court in order to properly
bring such motions before the Court.
- Applications for Attorney Fees
Applications for attorney fees in all cases
should comply with the requirements of Johnson v. Georgia
Highway Express, Inc., 488 F.2d 714, 717-19 (5th Cir.
1974). Counsel shall submit the issue of attorney fees to the
court by the filing of affidavits and controverting affidavits.
- No briefing orders will be entered. The Court will entertain only motions and responses but no replies unless otherwise ordered. The Court will not consider proposed agreed orders submitted without the filing of an underlying motion. The Court does not require that proposed agreed orders be signed by the attorneys or parties but instead relies on the attorney’s representation in the certificate of conference of the unopposed motion.
- Motions are decided on briefs
without hearing, unless ordered by the Court.
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Counsel and unrepresented parties are expected
to cooperate with each other in conducting discovery, clarifying
issues, and getting the case ready for trial. Specifically, counsel
must strictly comply with the mandates set forth
in Dondi Properties Corp. v. Commerce Savs. and Loan Assn,
121 F.R.D. 284 (N.D. Tex. 1988)(en banc)(per curiam).
- Fed.R. Civ. P. 26(a)
- By scheduling order, the parties are not required
to make initial disclosure under Rule 26(a)(1), unless further
ordered by the Court.
- 26(a)(3): Each party shall provide to the other
parties the information described under Rule 26(a)(3). Such
disclosures shall be made at least 21 days before the scheduled
date for trial.
- Filing Discovery Material
- See Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.
In all cases where electronic case filing is done, counsel may serve and respond to written discovery requests through electronic mail service. This discovery practice will be governed by the Northern District of Texas Local Rules, this Court's Local Rules/Judge Specific Requirements, and the Clerk's ECF Administrative Procedures Manual regarding electronic case filing procedures.
The attorneys shall exchange exhibits at least 21 days before the scheduled date
for trial. After exhibits have been admitted, counsel shall place
them on the table in front of the bench, where they shall remain
throughout the course of the trial. Documentary evidence shall
be placed in a loose leaf notebook (ring binder), and such evidence
shall remain in the binder during the trial.
- Voir Dire
In jury trials, lawyers are not to submit
proposed voir dire questions to the Court. Lawyers are allowed
to voir dire panels, to the extent of asking supplemental questions
following the judge's voir dire. Lawyers are given thirty minutes
per party to ask supplemental questions. Unless requested by the
Court to do so, there will be no opening statements given at the
voir dire stage of the trial.
- Proposed Jury Instructions/Findings
of Fact and Conclusions of Law
At least 21 days before the scheduled
date for trial, each counsel shall file with the Clerk and serve
on opposing counsel proposed jury instructions and issues in the
jury cases and proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law
in the non-jury cases.
- Examination of Witnesses
In examining witnesses, the court allows only direct examination, cross examination, and
limited re-direct examination.
- Courtroom Decorum
- Lawyers must stand at the lectern when examining
witnesses. The lectern is not to be moved for any reason.
- Lawyers must ask permission of the Court to approach
a witness or to approach the easel. Counsel shall not move the
microphone located on the lectern.
- Smoking is not allowed in the courthouse.
- Counsel must not place on counsel tables, the benches,
or the chairs behind counsel tables any briefcases, boxes, or
- No food, water, other drink, tobacco, or gum shall
be brought into the courtroom by lawyers, clients, or witnesses.
- No two-wheeled cart or dolly shall be brought into
- Electronic Equipment in the Courtroom
Parties must supply all electronic equipment.
The Court Coordinator must be notified prior to trial to make
arrangements with court security. Transcription and recording
devices, except those employed by the Court'
official court reporter, are not permitted. If
video equipment is to be used, only one video screen monitor (television)
shall be used. It will be situated across the courtroom from the
- You are responsible for staying in contact with
the Court Coordinator to determine where your case stands on
the Court's docket. There will be no docket call.
- Opening Statements/Closing Arguments
- In non-jury trials, the Court usually does not
require opening statements or closing arguments. In jury trials,
opening statements are limited to thirty minutes for each party.
- During jury deliberations, the attorneys for
all parties shall remain in the courthouse and shall be readily
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- Courtesy Copy of Pleading
Courtesy copies are not needed unless requested
by the Court.
- Telephone Call to Chambers
Callers should avoid contacting court staff
to ask questions that are answered by the rules and the Court's
orders. All pretrial inquiries and procedural questions that cannot
be answered by rules or specific orders should be directed to
the Court Coordinator, Criss Flock, at 806/472-1925. The judge
does not permit his law clerks to take telephone calls from lawyers
- Faxed Document
The Court does not accept faxed documents for
- Re-arraignment and Guilty Pleas
In cases scheduled for re-arraignment and guilty
pleas, all of the documents, including plea agreements and factual
resumes, must be reviewed by counsel and signed by all parties
at least three (3) days prior to the date on which the re-arraignment
- Vacation Letters
The Court does not recognize vacation letters. Counsel must advise the Court of any conflicts by filing motions for extension or continuance.
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Law Clerk/Extern Positions
- Job Requirements
Law clerks must meet all United States Government
requirements for employment as a law clerk to a United States
- Application Procedures
Each applicant should submit a resume, transcript,
and writing sample with the letter of application.
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