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Rule 661. Form of Writ


The following form of writ may be used:

"The State of Texas.

To E. F., Garnishee, greeting:

Whereas, in the . . . . . . . . . . Court of . . . . . . . County (if a justice court, state also the number of the precinct), in a certain cause wherein A. B. is plaintiff and C. D. is defendant, the plaintiff, claiming an indebtedness against the said C. D. of

. . . . . . . . . dollars, besides interest and costs of suit, has applied for a writ of garnishment against you, E. F.; therefore you are hereby commanded to be and appear before said court at . . . . . . . . in said county (if the writ is issued from the county or district court, here proceed: "at ten o’clock a. m. on the Monday next following the expiration of twenty days from the date hereof, the same being the . . . . . . . . day of . . . . . . ., 19 . . . . ." If the writ is issued from a justice of the peace court, here proceed: "at the next term thereof, to be held on the . . . . . day of . . . . . . . . . . 19 . . . . ." In either event, proceed as follows:) “then and there to answer upon oath what, if anything, you are indebted to the said C. D., and were when this writ was served upon you, and what effects, if any, of the said C. D. you have in your possession, and had when this writ was served and what other persons, if any, within your knowledge, are indebted to the said C. D. or have effects belonging to him in their possession”; (and if the garnishee be an incorporated or joint stock company, in which the defendant is alleged to be the owner of shares or interested therein, the writ shall proceed:) "and further to answer what number of shares, if any, the said C. D. owns in such company, and owned when such writ was served. Herein fail not, but make due answer as the law directs."

Source: Art. 4081.

Change: Writ directed to the garnishee instead of to the officer, and return date in district and county courts changed.

Oct. 29, 1940, eff. Sept. 1, 1941.


Sept. 20, 1941, eff. Dec. 31, 1941

Aug. 18, 1947, eff. Dec. 31, 1947

July 11, 1977, eff. Jan. 1, 1978


(No. 6) Question: Is a Writ of Garnishment which was issued out of the District or County Court on September 20, 1941, invalid and subject to a Motion to Quash because it is directed to the sheriff or a constable of the county and made returnable to the first day of the next term of court?

Answer: The answer to this question might be either yes or no, depending upon the circumstances. Rules 659 and 661 took effect on September 1, 1941, and they provide that the Writ of Garnishment should be directed to the garnishee and should be made returnable at or before 10 o’clock in the morning of the Monday next following the expiration of twenty days from the date the Writ was served. Inasmuch as the matter is now controlled by rule instead of by statute, and inasmuch as the avowed purpose and intention of the rules is to attain justice between the parties and not to base decisions upon technicality, it should not be held that the irregularities necessarily invalidate the Writ. If the garnishee in fact appeared in court and was in no way prejudiced by the improper direction and return date of the Writ, and if it would work injustice to require strict compliance with the rules in said respect, then under Rules 679 and 814 and under the general discretionary powers of the Court it would be proper to uphold the validity of the Writ. On the other hand, if the circumstances were such as to indicate that the enforcement of the Writ embodying said irregularities would result in an injustice being done, then it would be proper to quash the Writ.

What is said above about Rule 679 would of course, depend upon whether the error here was "clerical," and we feel, under the circumstances of the situation at hand, that it was; and what is said, next, about Rule 814 is conditioned upon the pendency of the action at the time the Rules went into effect.

We desire to stress particularly what we have characterized as the purpose and intention of the new Rules. It is, as we have said, to obtain justice, and is expressed or implied in Rules 1, 370, 434, and 503. It is implemented by Rule 817, for the interpretation of which see Franki's Vernon's Texas Rules of Civil Procedure; The Hudson, 15 F. 162, 175 (S.D.N.Y. 1883); and The Alert, 40 F. 836 (S.D.N.Y. 1889). It is, also, particularly advanced by the doctrine of Stephens v. Herron, 99 Tex. 63, 87 S.W. 326 (1905), that rules of court unlike statutes "are not inflexible" and that if a particular procedure is dependent upon rules as distinguished from statutes, it is "competent for the court so to adapt its exercise as to prevent any particular oppression and to make it yield to the particular circumstances of the case." This doctrine is applied and thoroughly established by the following additional authorities: Mills v. Bagby, 4 Tex. 320 (1849); State v. Scranton Indep. County Line Sch. Dist., 285 S.W. 601, 603 (Tex. Comm'n App. 1926); Albritton v. Commerce Farm Credit Co., 9 S.W.2d 193, 198 (Tex. Civ. App.-Waco 1928); Clifton v. W. T. Thompson & Sons Lumber Co., 100 S.W.2d 392, 394 (Tex. Civ. App.-Waco 1937); Alexander v. Alexander, 100 S.W.2d 420, 421 (Tex. Civ. App.-Waco 1937); Sewell v. Lake Charles Planing Mill Co., 253 S. W. 892 (Tex. Civ. App.-San Antonio 1923); and see Wright v. Traders & Gen. Ins. Co ., 132 Tex. 172, 123 S.W.2d 314 (1939); Silliman v. Gano, 90 Tex. 637, 39 S.W. 559 (1897); and Ashford v. Goodwin, 103 Tex. 491, 131 S.W. 535 (1910).

5 Tex. B.J. 168 (1942) reprinted in 8 Tex. B.J. 12 (1945).