Before parties go to trial, they typically must exchange certain evidence and information. Here, learn how to organize and exchange that evidence.
What are pretrial disclosures?
At the end of the discovery period and at least 30 days before trial the parties are required to exchange information about evidence and witnesses they will be offering at trial. These are called pretrial disclosures. The complete list of pretrial disclosures are contained in Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 194.4.
Read the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
What information goes in a pretrial disclosure?
The disclosures ask about the witnesses and evidence you expect to present at trial. It also asks for information about witnesses and evidence you may present if the need arises. You do not have to disclose a witness or piece of evidence that will only be used to discredit another witness.
How do you organize evidence you're disclosing?
Evidence should be separated into exhibits. An exhibit is any document or object presented at trial.
Each exhibit should be assigned its own letter or number for easy identification. That way, when you are referring to each individual piece of evidence at trial, you can refer to it by its exhibit number.
Each document offered as an exhibit should also have page numbering. That way, when you identify an important page of a document exhibit at the trial, you can identify it by its exhibit number and the page number.
If you already Bates-labeled your exhibits for discovery you can use those numbers for identification at trial. Bates labeling means placing identifying numbers, dates, and time marks on images and documents as they are scanned or processed during the discovery stage or in trial preparation.
Do you file and serve pretrial disclosures?
Unlike other types of disclosures in Texas courts, you must file your pretrial disclosures with the court and serve them to all other parties.
A document not filed electronically may be served in person, by mail, by commercial delivery service, by fax, or by email.
This article offers information about the rules governing discovery in Texas.
This article explains required initial disclosures in Texas civil cases.
This article tells you what evidence is and provides information on the evidence rules that are followed in Texas courts.