If nothing happens in your case for a while, it can be “dismissed for want of prosecution” (called a DWOP). This article tells you how to ask the judge to (1) retain your case¾that is, keep your case open, or (2) reinstate your case¾that is, reopen your case if it has already been dismissed.
What does “dismissed for want of prosecution” or DWOP mean?
“Dismissed for want of prosecution” or DWOP means your case is dismissed by the judge because nothing has happened in your case for a while or you missed a hearing or trial (of which you had notice).
Before dismissing a case for want of prosecution, the clerk will send you a letter or email that tells you that your case has been placed on the dismissal docket (list of cases to be dismissed on a certain date).
What does it mean to retain a case?
If a case is “retained” it is kept open. If your case was placed on the dismissal docket (but not yet dismissed), you can ask the judge to keep your case open by filing a Motion to Retain Case on Docket and Notice of Hearing.
What does it mean to reinstate a case?
If a case is “reinstated” it is reopened after being dismissed. If your case was dismissed for want of prosecution, you can ask the judge to reopen your case by filing a Motion to Reinstate Case on Docket and Notice of Hearing (if you file by the deadline discussed below.)
What is the deadline to ask the judge to reinstate my case?
You must file (turn in) a completed Motion to Reinstate Case on Docket and Notice of Hearing form within 30 days of the date the judge signed the dismissal order.
Exception: If you first learned about the dismissal order more than 20 days after it was signed by the judge, your 30-day deadline to file the Motion to Reinstate Case on Docket began on the day you received notice of the dismissal from the clerk or the day you actually found out about the dismissal (whichever happened first). However, even if this exception applies, your 30-day deadline cannot begin more than 90 days after the dismissal order was signed by the judge. So, the latest you could file a Motion to Reinstate Case on Docket is 120 days after the dismissal order was signed by the judge.
Why would I want to retain or reinstate my case?
Getting your case retained or reinstated can preserve:
- statute of limitations (legal deadlines) that may apply to your case, and
- orders (such as temporary orders) already made in your case.
What if the judge does not reinstate my case?
If your case is dismissed (and not reinstated), it goes away completely.
You must file your case again, pay the filing fee again and have the other side served again (if needed).
If there was a legal deadline to file your case and it has passed, you may be out of luck. Talk to a lawyer if there was a legal deadline to file your case.
Where can I read the law about retaining or reinistating a case?
Read the law here: Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 165(a) and Rule 306(a)(4).
How do I ask the judge to retain my case?
The steps for asking the Court to retain your case can be found in this guide: I want to retain or reinstate a case that got dismissed. Click on the "Instructions and Forms" tab, then on the box that says "Motion to Retain."
How do I ask the judge to reinstate my case?
The steps for asking the Court to retain your case can be found in this guide: I want to retain or reinstate a case that got dismissed. Click on the "Instructions and Forms" tab, then on the box that says "Motion to Reinstate."
Texas Forms for Retaining or Reinstating a Case
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