By Jeffrey N. Boudreaux

Earlier this week, the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued an emergency order to allow the courts affected by the disaster to suspend regular court procedures and deadlines. The order is effective for one month and states in part:

Pursuant to Section 22.0035(b) of the Texas Government Code, 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.

Misc. Doc. No.17- 9098.

Yesterday, the Court added a formal judicial suspension of all deadlines to the otherwise applicable statute of limitations which states in part:

Inasmuch as statutes of limitations are not subject to a good-cause exception, the Supreme Court now further orders, again pursuant to Section 22.0035(b), that any applicable statute of limitations 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.

Misc. Doc. No. 17- 9091

Unlike the Louisiana Executive Order JBE 16-66, issued last year following the catastrophic flooding in Baton Rouge and similar orders issued in previous years (by previous Governors) which suspended the applicable prescriptive period, the Texas Order still requires some showing of  that the claimant attempted to timely file its claim.

At this juncture, it is premature to speculate on what level of proof will be required for a claimant to take advantage of the suspended deadlines, but it is clear some standard of proof will be required

The link to determine whether a particular court is closed can be found here.