Update: Impacts to TX Customers Effective September 1st

Legislation Aimed at Improving Public Access to Texas Courts

In Texas, the Legislature has passed two bills aimed at improving public access to the courts for all Texans, House Bill 3336, and Senate Bill 2342 with an effective date of 9/1/2020.

Both bills expand on favorable procedures that Texas has already implemented in order to expedite civil lawsuits. This means more lawsuits can be resolved quicker with less expense.

An example provided by the bi-partisan group TRL, “Justice of the peace courts handle civil cases with less than $10,000 in controversy. These courts handle caseloads quickly, use informal procedures and don’t require a lawyer, making them easily accessed by Texans.

SB 2342 and HB 3336 expand their maximum jurisdiction to $20,000, allowing more Texans to take advantage of justice of the peace courts to get a quick resolution of a relatively small dispute.”

 

How SB 2342 Impacts ABC Legal Customers in Texas

ABC Legal customers rely on a venue selection process in multiple states including Texas to correctly select the proper court to file their cases in based on:

  1. The address of the defendant; and
  2. The amount of the suit.

In times when new legislation impacts the workflow and cadence of this process, ABC Legal must update our tools to reflect these changes, such as the recent passage of Texas Senate Bill 2342. Without these updates, customers may attempt to file in the incorrect court which will lead to filing rejections, delays and at worst--counterclaims against them due to incorrect venue selection. Fortunately with ABC Legal, we’re on top of this changing and evolving landscape so you can rest easy knowing we’ve got you covered. 

 

What ABC Legal is Doing to Expedite and Implement These Changes

At ABC Legal, we’ve escalated updates to our venue selection tool so that customers who rely on us to assist in court venue selection will continue to get accurate recommendations. Here are some processes to take note of:

  • E-filing volume may be impacted by this change. Such as, all district and county courts are e-filing; however, the lower Justice of Peace Courts in Texas that have jurisdiction over minor criminal offenses and minor civil cases are not all e-filing. Since cases from $10k-$20 will now go to the JP level, there will be a likely increase in paper filing, and a decrease in e-filing.
  • ABC Legal is aware that rejection rates could be impacted early on. This is why we’ve encouraged our customers, if possible, to push out as much of their $10-20K suits in the next couple days so that they can be e-filed prior to the switch.
  • Generally the county and district courts have been willing to accept cases that fall under the JP suit amount threshold, but there are courts that will outright reject suits below that threshold. ABC Legal is aware of this, and prepared to rapidly communicate rejections as they come up.
  • ABC Legal’s venue tool will be updated on September 1, 2020. Customers should be aware that to date, ABC Legal’s recommendations have been based on the $10,000 limit. The ABC Legal venue selection tool is a powerful feature, as accurately picking venues in TX can easily become complicated. Because of the tremendous value of this service, you will remain in good hands with ABC Legal Services.

If you have further questions on venue selection procedures in Texas, request specific assistance or would like to request a demo of ABC Legal’s selection of valuable tools available nationwide please email: AcctMgt@ABCLegal.com.

 

About ABC Legal Services

ABC Legal is the nation’s leading service of process and court filing company and is the official process server to the U.S. Department of Justice. Docketly is a subsidiary of ABC Legal, providing appearance counsel on a digital, custom-built platform that smoothly integrates with our applications and services. ABC Legal’s applications are cloud-based and compatible for use on desktop, browser, and smartphones. Our solutions and digital approach ensure process server partners, law firm customers, and their clients save valuable time and resources when serving legal notices safely and with maximum compliance, control, and transparency. ABC Legal is based in Seattle, WA, with more than 2,000 process servers throughout the U.S., as well as internationally in more than 75 countries. To learn more about ABC Legal, our solutions, and subsidiary company Docketly, visit www.abclegal.com

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