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Rule 414. Briefs, Requisites of (1984)


Briefs shall be brief. Briefs shall be filed with the clerk of the Court of Appeals. They shall be addressed to "The Court of Appeals" of the correct Supreme Judicial District. The parties shall be designated as "Appellant" and "Appellee".

(a) Names of All Parties. A complete list of the names of all parties shall be listed on the first page of the appellant's brief, so the members of the court may at once determine whether they are disqualified to serve or should recuse themselves from participating in the decision of the case.

(b) Index. The application shall contain at the front thereof a subject index with page references where the discussion of each point relied upon may be found and also a list of authorities alphabetically arranged, together with reference to the pages of the application where the same are cited.

(c) The brief should contain a brief general statement of the nature of the cause, Le., whether it is suit for damages on a note, or in trespass to try title, or products liability. Such statement should seldom exceed one-half page. The details of the cause should be reserved to be stated in connection with the points to which they are pertinent.

(d) Points of Error. A statement of the points upon which the application is predicated shall be stated in short form without argument and be separately numbered. In parentheses after each point, reference shall be made to the page of the record where the matter complained of is to be found.

(e) Brief of the Argument. The brief of the argument may present separately, or grouped if germane, the points of error relied upon for reversal. The argument should include such pertinent statements from the record as may be requisite, together with page references and such discussion of the authorities as is deemed necessary to make clear the points of error complained of.

(f) Prayer For Relief. The nature of the relief sought by the application should be clearly stated.

(g) If any brief or application for writ of error is unnecessarily lengthy or not prepared in conformity with these rules, the court may require same to be redrawn.

(h) Signature and Service. The brief of each party shall be signed by at least one of the attorneys for the party, shall give the State Bar of Texas identification number, the mailing address and telephone number of each attorney whose name is signed thereto, and shall state that a copy of the brief has been delivered or mailed to each group of opposite parties or their counsel. A party not represented by an attorney shall sign his brief, and give his address and telephone number. The statement of service on opposite parties by one who is not a licensed attorney shall be verified.

(i) Number of Copies. Each party shall file six copies of his brief in the Court of Appeals in which the case is pending. Any Court of Appeals may by rule authorize the filing therein of fewer or more copies of briefs.

(j) Briefs Written, Typewritten or Printed. The brief of either party may be written, typewritten, or printed. If written, it shall not exceed fifteen pages of manuscript. If typewritten, it must be with double space between the lines, and at least one copy shall be an original written on heavy white paper in clear type.

(k) Appellant's Filing Date. Appellant shall file his brief within thirty days after the filing of the transcript and statement of facts, if any, except that in accelerated appeals appellant shall file his brief within the time prescribed by Rule 385. When the appellant has failed to file his brief in the time prescribed, the appellate court may dismiss the appeal for want of prosecution, unless reasonable explanation is shown for such failure and that appellee has not suffered material injury thereby. The court, may, however, decline to dismiss the appeal, whereupon it shall give such direction to the cause as it may deem proper.

(l) Appellee's Filing Dates. Appellee shall file his brief within twenty-five days after the filing of appellant's brief. When appellant has failed to file his brief as provided in this rule, the appellee may, prior to the call of the case, file his brief, which the court may in its discretion regard as a correct presentation of the case, and upon which it may, in its discretion, affirm the judgment of the court below without examining the record.

(m) Modifications of Filing Time. Upon written motion showing a reasonable explanation of the need for more time, the court may grant either or both parties further time for filing their respective briefs, and may extend the time for submission of the case. The court may also shorten the time for filing briefs and the submission of the cause in case of emergency, when in its opinion the needs of justice require it.

(n) Amendment or Supplementation. Briefs may be amended or supplemented at any time when justice requires upon such reasonable terms as the court may prescribe, and if the court shall strike or refuse to consider any part of a brief, the court shall on reasonable terms allow the same to be amended or supplemented.

Amended by order of Dec. 5, 1983, eff. April 1, 1984: The rule consolidates former Rules 415, 416, 417, and 431. It incorporates corresponding provisions of Rule 469 into this rule.

Prior Amendments Future Amendments
Oct. 29, 1940, eff. Sept. 1, 1941 Repealed by order of April 10, 1986, eff. Sept. 1, 1986
March 31, 1941, eff. Sept. 1, 1941  
June 16, 1943, eff. Dec. 31, 1943  
June 10, 1980, eff. Jan. 1, 1981  


(No. 109) Question: Under amended Rule 414, effective December 31, 1943, if a cause is pending on appeal when the rule takes effect must appellant's brief be filed in thirty days after the record is filed OR is there an enlargement of time for filing such brief?

Answer: We are of the opinion that there is an enlargement of time. As now worded, Rule 414 requires the brief to be filed within thirty days after notice of the date of submission in the Court of Civil Appeals. The amendment, on the other hand, requires it to be filed within thirty days after the date upon which the record is filed in the Court of Civil Appeals. Copies are to be filed in either instance. It should be added that the purpose of the amendment is to prevent delay and any retarding of the supply of business upon which the Courts of Civil Appeals may work. A number of situations could present themselves in an appealed case at the end of the year of 1943 when the amendment becomes effective. If as of that time notice of date of submission has not been given under the old rule and the record has not been filed there is, of course, no difficulty: the time for the brief runs from the date upon which the record shall be filed. If such notice has been given and the record had been filed, under the formula given in Odum v. Garner, 86 Tex. 374, 25 S.W. 18 (1894), whatever proportion of the old period has elapsed at the effective date of amendment is to be deducted from the new period and the rest of the new period is still open. Thus, for example, if two-thirds of the old period has elapsed, one-third of the new period, or, in this case, ten days is still open. If such notice of date of submission has not been given but the record has been filed, by the same principle (since under the old law the full thirty days are still open) full thirty days from the effective date of the amendment are available. If the record has not as yet been filed, under the express words of the amendment full thirty days will lie after the record shall be filed.

In his letter correspondent suggests that aside from any consideration of time as a matter of right, the appellate court may grant time in the exercise of discretion. In this connection we call attention to Rule 437 as amended in 1941, and express the opinion that in determining a "reasonable time" thereunder important factors would be the consideration of actual prejudice to opponent and of the convenience and business load of the court. San Antonio & Aransas Pass Ry. Co. v. Holden, 93 Tex. 211, 54 S. W. 751 (1900), and Rule 414 as amended.

7 Tex. B.J. 15 (1944) reprinted in 8 Tex. B.J. 40 (1945).