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Texas Supreme Court Issues Advisory Regarding Hurricane Harvey-Related Emergency Orders

08/31/2017

By: Rebecca Moore

As many are aware, Hurricane Harvey has devastated several Texas counties. In order to assist the residents of these counties in both active and pending lawsuits, the Texas Supreme Court issued the following advisory Wednesday, August 30 regarding Hurricane Harvey-related emergency orders.

Harvey-Related Emergency Orders: Amended, additions

The Texas Supreme Court has amended orders relating to problems created by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, amending one to allow out-of-state lawyers to practice temporarily in Texas and adding others (1) to modify and suspend court proceedings and (2) resetting statute of limitations in civil cases.

The following orders have been issued and posted to the Court’s web page:

  • Joint Order with Court of Criminal Appeals to Modify and Suspend Court Proceedings
    • All courts in Texas should consider disaster-caused delays as good cause for modifying or suspending all deadlines and procedures—whether prescribed by statute, rule, or order—in any case, civil or criminal.
  • Emergency Order Resetting Limitations in Civil Cases
    • Because statutes of limitations are not subject to a good-cause exception, the Supreme Court orders, pursuant to Government Code Section 22.0035(b), that any applicable limitations statute is suspended for any civil claim if the claimant shows that the disastrous conditions resulting from Hurricane Harvey prevented the timely filing of the claim despite the party’s and counsel’s diligent efforts. Any such suspension extends only to the date on which it becomes reasonably possible to file the claim despite the disastrous conditions, taking into account the circumstances.
    • Expires September 28, 2017, unless the Court extends it.
  • Order Permitting Out-of-State Lawyers to Practice Temporarily in Texas
    • Affects attorneys in good standing where they are licensed to practice law outside Texas and either (1) are displaced because of Hurricane Harvey and are practicing in Texas remotely as if practicing in their home jurisdictions or (2) are retained by a legal-aid or pro bono program or a bar association providing services to Hurricane Harvey victims. Attorneys must register for temporary practice (form attached to order) with the State Bar of Texas and agree to abide by the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and to submit to Texas disciplinary jurisdiction.
  • Amended Order Permitting Out-of-State Lawyers to Practice Temporarily in Texas
    • References to practicing law in Texas have been changed to practicing Texas law and language requiring an attorney to register with the State Bar of Texas has changed to as soon as possible after beginning to provide services under this order.
    • Language referring to an attorney retained by a legal-aid or similar organization has been changed to providing services under this order to assure the order applies to attorneys who provide pro bono services for no compensation.

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The content of this article is not intended to serve as an exhaustive review of the laws, statutes or issues related to emergency orders or amended orders surronding Hurricane Harvey, and it is not intended to provide legal advice. The opinions expressed through this article may not reflect the opinions of the firm, individual attorneys or clients.