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Rule 21. Filing and Serving Pleadings and Motions (1990)


Every pleading, plea, motion or application to the court for an order, whether in the form of a motion, plea or other form of request, unless presented during a hearing or trial, shall be filed with the clerk of the court in writing, shall state the grounds therefor, shall set forth the relief or order sought, and at the same time a true copy shall be served on all other parties, and shall be noted on the docket.

An application to the court for an order and notice of any hearing thereon, not presented during a hear­ing or trial, shall be served upon all other parties not less than three days before the time specified for the hearing unless otherwise provided by these rules or shortened by the court.

If there is more than one other party represented by different attorneys, one copy of such pleading shall be delivered or mailed to each attorney in charge.

The party or attorney of record, shall certify to the court compliance with this rule in writing over signa­ture on the filed pleading, plea, motion or application.

After one copy is served on a party that party may obtain another copy of the same pleading upon tender­ing reasonable payment for copying and delivering.

Amended by order of April 24, 1990, eff. Sept. 1, 1990: To require filing and service of all pleadings and motions on all parties and to consolidate notice and service Rules 21, 72 and 73.

Prior Amendments Future Amendments
Oct. 29, 1940, eff. Sept. 1, 1941 Dec. 13, 2013, eff. Jan. 1, 2014.
Sept. 20, 1941, eff. Dec. 31, 1941 Aug. 28, 2015, eff. Sept. 1, 2015
Aug. 18, 1947, eff. Dec. 31, 1947  
July 11, 1977, eff. Jan. 1, 1978  
June 10, 1980, eff. Jan. 1, 1981  


(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).