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Northern District of Texas

David C. Godbey, Chief Judge
Karen Mitchell, Clerk of Court

  • How do I file a suit in Federal Court?
  • Who is authorized to issue a subpoena?

    A subpoena must be issued from the court where the case is pending (by an attorney who is authorized to practice in the court where the case is pending [including one appearing pro hac vice], or by the clerk, who may issue a subpoena to a party requesting it in blank, who must fill it out before service). It may be served anywhere in the United States, and it must command that the deposition, production, or inspection take place within 100 miles (or in limited instances within the state) where the person resides, is employed, or regularly transacts business in person.

  • Who issues and serves summonses?

    The Clerk's Office issues summonses. In general, the plaintiff is responsible for service, which 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. The U.S. Marshal Service will serve a summons if ordered to do so by a judge.

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

    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.

  • May I submit filings via fax or email?

    No, filings must be submitted via the ECF system or on paper. (Paper filing is required if the judge does not allow ECF filing or if the case is sealed.) If you are unable to file a document electronically due to a technical issue on your end or the court's end, please see the court's Emergency Filing Procedures.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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). The abbreviation for the case type is next (cv = civil, cr = criminal, mc = miscellaneous, md = multidistrict litigation). This is followed by the sequential case number and the alpha designation of the presiding judge.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • How many copies of each document do I file?

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

    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).

  • How much is a witness fee?

    Please refer to 28 USC § 1821.  You may also click on the following links to view current mileage and maximum subsistence allowances.

  • How do I obtain a receipt for an electronic filing fee? no longer supplies receipts, however, you can print a report from ECF by going to Utilities, then Internet Payments Made.