New Texas Discovery Rules

The new Texas discovery rules took effect on January 1, 1999, and many of the new rules apply to pending lawsuits. For lawsuits filed after January 1, 1999, the most significant changes relate to Rule 190, which requires that every case be governed by a "discovery control plan." There are three levels of control plans, depending upon the size and complexity of the lawsuit. All three levels place limitations on discovery and depositions. New rules which also apply to pending cases, include Rule 194, "Requests for Disclosure." Under 194, upon a simple request, a party must disclose all of the requested information without objection. New rules also place limitations on objections to written discovery and objections made during deposition. The ever popular "will supplement" response to interrogatories and requests for production may no longer be available. Rule 193 creates an affirmative duty to make a complete response based upon all of the information reasonably available to the responding party at the time the response is made. Amended or supplemental responses must be made reasonably promptly after the party discovers the necessity for such response.

The purpose of the new discovery rules is to simplify and encourage timely disclosure of relevant information and cut down on the number of unnecessary objections and discovery battles which slow down litigation.