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Rule 72. Filing Pleadings: Copy Delivered to Adverse Party or Parties


Whenever any party files, or asks leave to file any pleading, plea, or motion of any character which is not by law or by these rules required to be served upon the adverse party, he shall at the same time either deliver or mail to the adverse party or his attorney of record a copy of such pleading, plea, or motion. If there is more than one adverse party and the adverse parties are represented by different attorneys, one copy of such pleading shall be delivered or mailed to each attorney representing the adverse parties, but a firm of attorneys associated in the case shall count as one. Not more than four copies of any pleading, plea, or motion shall be required to be furnished to adverse parties, and if there be more than four adverse parties, four copies of such pleading shall be deposited with the clerk of court and the party filing them, or asking leave to file them, shall inform all adverse parties or their attorneys of record that such copies have been deposited with the clerk. The copies shall be delivered by the clerk to the first four applicants entitled thereto, and in such case no copies shall be required to be mailed or delivered to the adverse parties or their attorneys by the attorney thus filing the pleading. After a copy of a pleading is furnished to an attorney, he cannot require another copy of the same pleading to be furnished to him.

Source: Acts 1939, 46th Leg., p. 203, Secs. 1 (part) and 2 appearing in Vernon's Statutes as Arts. 2002a, 2002b.

Change: Where there are four or less adverse parties, this rule prescribes that they be mailed or delivered copies of the pleading. Where there are more than four it provides for actual notice of the filing of the pleading.

Caveat: Note that the above statute took effect subsequent to the effective date of the Rule Making Act.

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


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

Dec. 5, 1983, eff. April 1, 1984

July 15, 1987, eff. Jan. 1, 1988

Repealed by Order of April 24, 1990, eff. Sept. 1, 1990.


(No. 36) Question: In view of Rules 72 and 75 are attorneys entitled to withdraw the original drafts of judgments and orders which are on file but which have therefore been placed in the minutes of the court?

Answer: We are of the opinion that since Rules 72 and 75 specify the particu­lar papers to which they apply, and since papers of the type that you mention are not included or fairly implied in those so specified, there is under those rules no prohibition of the withdrawal. However, we know of no authority whereunder an attorney is entitled to withdraw papers of the type now under consideration. As the clerk is the custodian of file papers, it would seem that, except by sufferance of the clerk, nothing in his possession can rightfully be withdrawn by an attorney. It may become very important for the draft of a judgment or order to remain in his custody to the end that the clerk may complete his fee bill (Article 3930), that his accounts may be fully audited, or that the entry may be corrected if not in accordance with the draft. The trial judge can always expressly regulate a matter of this sort by local rules promul­gated under Rule 817.

5 Tex. B.J. 171 (1942) reprinted in 8 Tex. B.J. 16 (1945).

(No. 50) Question: Does the plaintiff show good cause in not filing his controverting affi­davit within the ten days period (Rules 86 and 87) by proving that defendant failed to furnish him with a copy of the plea of privilege (Rules 72 and 73)? The question is stated in another form: After filing suit can the plaintiff disregard it until he is furnished with a copy of the plea of privilege?

Answer: Rule 72 providing for delivery or mailing to the adverse party or, his at­torney of record of any pleading, plea, or motion "which is not by law or by these rules required to be served upon the ad­verse party" is a wholesome rule and ought to be, and we think will be, readily complied with by the attorneys because of its mutual advantage to them. Nevertheless, the Committee thinks that the Rule is di­rectory and failure to deliver to the plain­tiff a copy of the plea of privilege does not dispense with the necessity of the plaintiff's filing a controverting plea; but it may constitute grounds for an extension of the time within which plaintiff should file the controverting plea. Although at­torneys have a duty to keep in touch with the developments in their cases, the ex­tent to which they should inspect the records is naturally affected to some extent by Rule 72 requiring the delivery to them by their adversaries of copies of all plead­ings, pleas or motions filed in the case.

Under Rule 5, which permits the en­largement of the time within which a specified act is required or allowed to be done, and the liberal construction required by Rule 1 to be given to all the rules in order to adjudicate "the rights of litigants under established principles of substan­tive law," a wide discretion is vested in the courts in dealing with questions of the character raised in your inquiry. We are of opinion that the courts have the power, upon consideration of all the facts and circumstances, and in the interest of justice, to permit a controverting affidavit to be filed after the expiration of ten days from appearance day upon compliance by the plaintiff with the provisions of Rule 5. When requests for enlargement are ap­plied for under this Rule each case, must necessarily be determined by the court upon its own facts in accordance with the right of the case.

Ordinarily, where the plaintiff and his attorney have no notice or knowledge of the fact that a plea of privilege has been filed, and the defendant has failed to deliver a copy thereof as required by Rule 72, we would be inclined to feel that this would constitute good cause under Rule 5 for granting of an extension of time for the filing of a controverting plea. This would not render nugatory and void that part of Rule 86 quoted in correspondent's letter, as the filing of a controverting plea would still be a prerequisite to the over­ruling of a proper plea of privilege. It would merely have a bearing upon the time within which the controverting plea could be filed.

5 Tex. B.J. 426 (1942) reprinted in 8 Tex. B.J. 24 (1945).

(No. 59) Question: Under the Rule 169 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, assume that a party is delivered a proper request for ad­missions of fact and does not reply to the same within the time stipulated, and as­sume further that five days prior to the time that the party has to make his reply his attorney files a motion in the court papers for a ten day extension of time to file a reply and no other notice is given to the adverse party of the filing of such mo­tion, and no action is taken on the motion at the time, and no other motion for an ex­tension of time is made, would the court at the trial of the case over three months thereafter have any authority to permit such party to file a reply to the request for admissions?

Answer: We consider that the court would, under the circumstances at hand, have authority, in the exercise of its dis­cretion, to permit the reply to be filed un­less the motion were so worded as not to contemplate an extension at so late a time, and that it would likewise, of course, have the discretion to refuse such permis­sion. Rule 169 gives such authority on motion and notice. Rule 21 requires the clerk on the filing of the motion to make the proper entries concerning it on the motion docket, and renders such filing and entry sufficient notice, since the mo­tion is one in a pending suit. As these entries are to be made by the clerk, any failure to make them is the fault of the clerk. In the fact situation which is sup­posed in the question, the party demand­ing the admission has a clear remedy. It is to be expected that within the ten days allowed by Rule 169 he will have come into possession of a copy either of the sworn statement or else of the motion to enlarge the time for filing the sworn statement, because Rule 72 requires the transmission of a copy of any paper of that kind and Rule 73 puts the party in default of that duty in danger of having to pay for a certified copy. If at the end of the ten days' time the party demand­ing the admission receives no copy what­ever, he very naturally should resort to the papers to ascertain whether any paper has been filed. If, instead of a sworn state­ment as required by Rule 169, he en­counters a motion for enlargement of time, as is permitted by such. Rule, he may thereupon request the court to hear the motion, and he may persist in his request until it is heard. Since the efficacy of this whole proceeding is largely de­pendent upon its completion before the trial commences, it is, of course, to be hoped that the demandant would thus protect himself. The discretion of the court in such a case should be exercised to the end of requiring as prompt a filing of the sworn statement as the circumstances may justify.

It should be added that, in the event respondent's motion is ineffective on ac­count of its wording, a second though more onerous motion could be urged and granted under Rule 169 and subdivision (b) of Rule 5.

5 Tex. B.J. 426 (1942) reprinted in 8 Tex. B.J. 25 (1945).

Question: "In a case in which judgment has been rendered on service of process by publica­tion, where the defendant has not appeared in person or by attorney of his own selection, and the defendant within two years after such judg­ment was rendered has filed a motion for new trial, supported by affidavit, showing good cause, is service upon the attorney of record for the plaintiff, by mailing a copy of such motion to the attorney of record, as provided in Rule 72, sufficient compliance with paragraph (a) of Rule 329 ?"

Answer: No. It appears that Rule 329 contem­plates actual service of citation. The requirement that the parties adversely interested in such judgment shall be "cited, as in other cases," is not met merely by mailing a copy of the motion to the attorney of record.

11 Tex. B.J. 276 (1948).