Judges - Senior District Judge Sam R. Cummings

Requirements for Senior District Judge Sam R. Cummings
(Updated January 1, 2012)


Filing documents electronically is not mandatory.

I. Case Management Procedures

  1. Preliminary Pretrial Conference ("Rule 16 Conference")
    Judge Cummings does not conduct a preliminary pretrial conference.

  2. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(f) Conference
    By scheduling order, no Rule 26(f) conference is required.

  3. 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.

  4. Referrals to Magistrate Judges
    The form titled "Consent to Proceed Before a United States Magistrate Judge" is available from the Clerk's

  5. 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.

  1. 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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II. Motion Practice

  1. Requirements for Specific Motions
    1. Summary Judgment
      Judge Cummings' scheduling order establishes the deadline for filing a motion for summary judgment.
    2. Continuance
      Motions for continuance are rarely granted.
    3. Other
      1. 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.
      2. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Hearing
    1. Motions are decided on briefs without hearing, unless ordered by the Court.

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III. Discovery

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).

  1. Fed.R. Civ. P. 26(a)
    1. By scheduling order, the parties are not required to make initial disclosure under Rule 26(a)(1), unless further ordered by the Court.
    2. 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.

  2. Filing Discovery Material
    1. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.

  3. Other
    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.

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IV. Trial Procedures

  1. Exhibits
    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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

  2. Examination of Witnesses
    In examining witnesses, the court allows only direct examination, cross examination, and
    limited re-direct examination.
  1. 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 exhibits.
    • 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 the courtroom.

  2. 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 jury.
  1. Other
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. During jury deliberations, the attorneys for all parties shall remain in the courthouse and shall be readily accessible.




V. Miscellaneous Procedures

  1. Courtesy Copy of Pleading
    Courtesy copies are not needed unless requested by the Court.

  2. 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 or litigants.

  3. Faxed Document
    The Court does not accept faxed documents for filing.

  4. 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 is scheduled.

  5. 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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VI. Law Clerk/Extern Positions

  1. Job Requirements
    Law clerks must meet all United States Government requirements for employment as a law clerk to a United States District Judge.

  2. Application Procedures
    Each applicant should submit a resume, transcript, and writing sample with the letter of application.


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