| Court Rules || |
8046 Main Street
Houma, Louisiana 70360
RULE NO. 1 TERM OF COURT
The regular session of the City Court of Houma shall be held continuously for periods of twelve months on a schedule as adopted by the court from time to time.
RULE NO. 2 TIME OF SESSIONS
Each sitting of the Court, except when otherwise specially ordered, shall be opened punctually at 9:00 A.M., shall recess from 12:00 noon to 1:30 P.M., and shall adjourn at whatever time the Court shall order.
RULE NO. 3 COURTROOM DECORUM and CONDUCT OF ATTORNEYS
The following shall be observed in the opening of Court and general courtroom decorum:
1. The Bailiff shall open each session of the Court with the following recitation and order: “Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! City Court of Houma in and for the Parish of Terrebonne, State of Louisiana is now in session. The Honorable Judge Matthew Hill Hagen presiding. Order and silence is commanded. God save the State and this Honorable Court.”
2. The Bailiff shall order all persons in the courtroom to rise whenever the Judge enters or leaves the courtroom.
3. No smoking is allowed.
4. No food or beverage shall be brought into the courtroom.
5. Children under the age of ten should not be brought into the courtroom.
6. Everyone should be seated when seats are available.
7. Everyone must be appropriately and moderately dressed; no shorts, tank tops, athletic apparel or clothing with vulgar or obscene writing/pictures can be worn. Pants must fit on the waist and not hang on or below the hips.
8. All attorneys should be appropriately and moderately dressed.
9. Silence is to be observed.
Attorneys should not sit on rail but should sit in chairs/bench and should remain silent when court is in session.
When private conversation or conference between lawyers or people in attendance becomes necessary during any court session, the parties shall leave the courtroom. In the event discussion between counsel to the proceedings is necessary, the Court may grant such recess as needed.
Attorneys’ litigants, officers of the Court, and witnesses when called, shall be allowed inside the guardrail of the courtroom.
All attorneys are expected to abide at all times by the Code of Professionalism in the Courts & Rules of Professional Conduct.
RULE NO. 4 ORDER OF BUSINESS
The regular order of business shall be as follows:
1. Rendering opinions and decrees.
2. Roll call of attorneys present; a) making or filing of any motions, exceptions, answers or any other pleadings; b) entry of any preliminary judgments by default; c) confirmation of defaults; d) any other preliminary matter.
3. Trial of rules, motions, and exceptions.
4. Trial of cases on merits.
The establishment of the foregoing “order of business” will not in any manner restrict, limit or circumscribe the rights of the Court to render and sign decrees and judgments at any time at any sitting of the Court.
The Court may, in its discretion, suspend the regular order of business at any daily session or sessions whenever circumstances arise that warrant such action.
RULE NO. 5 ORDER OF CASES
In Civil matters, the Judge shall decide the order in which cases shall be called. Cases in which an attorney is involved shall normally be called first.
In criminal matters, the prosecutor shall decide the order in which cases shall be called.
RULE NO. 6 COUNSEL OF RECORD
No one shall be permitted to represent any party to any proceedings, not even to the extent of making any motion or confirming any default therein, unless he is counsel of record or unless he is an attorney in fact for the party litigant.
In Civil cases, an attorney becomes the attorney of record by filing a petition or responsive pleading on behalf of a party or by written motion to be recognized as attorney of record.
In Criminal cases, an attorney becomes the attorney of record by appearing in person in court with the defendant at the arraignment or determination of counsel hearing.
RULE NO. 7 ORAL MOTIONS
In the presentation of oral motions in open court, attorneys shall introduce themselves to the Court and the minute clerk and preliminarily give the docket number and title of the proceedings before stating the substance of the motion.
RULE NO. 8 WRITTEN MOTIONS
All written motions must bear the signature of the mover or his counsel.
RULE NO. 9 AGREEMENTS OF COUNSEL
All agreements of counsel, except those made in open court, must be in writing, dated and bearing their signatures.
RULE NO. 10 DISTRIBUTION OF PLEADINGS
Copies of all pleadings not required by law to be served by the Marshal or Sheriff must either be handed or mailed to the opposing attorney(s) by the attorney filing same, which action shall be made to appear thereon by the attorney at the time of their filing. The same rule shall apply to briefs filed or submitted to the Court.
RULE NO. 11 CONTINUATION AND RE-ASSIGNMENT OF TRIALS
Any case not completed within the time assigned, or any case not reached on the day assigned, shall be re-assigned.
Any case not tried by reason of the absence of witnesses duly summoned but not served or for any reason, shall be re-assigned.
RULE NO. 12 CONTINUANCES
All requests for continuances must be made in writing as soon as the reason for the continuance is known to the mover. If a matter has been filed for trial on its merits, a continuance will not be granted except for good cause and after a contradictory hearing.
In Criminal cases, the defendant and counsel must both appear in court when a continuance is requested so that, if granted, the defendant and counsel can both receive notice of any new date.
In Criminal cases, continuances can be given only by the Judge: Prosecutors cannot give continuances but can indicate their objection or lack of objection.
In Civil cases, continuances can be given only by the Judge: Opposing counsel cannot give continuances but can indicate their objection or lack of objection.
RULE NO. 13 WITNESSES AND SUBPOENAS (CIVIL AND CRIMINAL)
Written request for subpoenas shall be filed no less than twenty-one (21) days before trial unless otherwise ordered by the Judge. If the subpoenas are not timely requested, the failure of the Clerk to issue any subpoena or the failure of the Marshal’s office to serve said subpoenas shall not be grounds for a continuance. All requests for subpoenas submitted five (5) or less business days before trial will not be processed since there would normally not be sufficient time to do so and to serve the same.
THERE WILL BE A CHARGE FOR EACH SUBPOENA REQUEST IN CIVIL MATTERS ONLY.
Witnesses shall be subpoenaed by written request filed with the Clerk and placed in the record of the case. There is no prescribed form for the written request but the correct name and correct street address (no post office box addresses) must be given. The Clerk shall not issue any subpoenas for witnesses unless the request is submitted in writing and the party who wishes to subpoena the witnesses first deposits with the Clerk of Court a sum of money sufficient to pay all fees and expenses to which the witnesses are entitled by law.
It shall be the responsibility of counsel to determine the availability of witnesses they plan to use at least twenty-one (21) days prior to the assigned trial date. If it develops that a material witness will not be available, arrangements can be made to either take the deposition of the witness or immediately apply for a continuance on this ground. The Court may decide to have the trial anyway and have the testimony of the witness(es) taken on another date.
RULE NO. 14 ORAL ARGUMENT
The Judge often considers oral argument a waste of time. If the Judge does not ask for oral argument, he is generally not interested in it. However, if the attorneys desire to argue, not more than fifteen (15) minutes shall be allowed each side for argument in civil cases. Except that upon the joint application of attorneys for both sides beforehand,
extensions of time may be granted at the discretion of the court for an additional period of time.
Attorneys shall not interrupt one another in argument and should address all remarks, objections, and comments to the Judge, not to opposing counsel, Impromptu argument or discussion between counsel is not permitted.
RULE NO. 15 BRIEFS
The Judge will attempt to rule from the bench after a trial. In exceptional cases, the matter will be taken under advisement and briefs may be requested.
It shall be the duty of each attorney to file his/her brief within the fixed delays. The Judge, at his discretion, may grant an extension. The attorney should file the original in the record and deliver a copy to the Judge. Upon failure to timely receive the briefs, the Judge shall presume that the attorney failing to file same does not wish to do so, and the Judge shall proceed to decide the case without the benefit of such brief.
RULE NO. 16 MOTIONS TO DISMISS
A suit or oral motion in open court can be dismissed by written motion. Every motion to dismiss shall make mention of whether or not the case sought to be dismissed had been fixed for trial.
RULE NO. 17 SPECIAL RULES APPLICABLE TO CRIMINAL CASES
1. The attorney is not allowed to waive the defendant’s presence at the arraignment or at any other scheduled court date.
2. The defendant and the attorney must both appear at the arraignment and any other scheduled court date.
3. At the arraignment, the attorney is expected to bring his calendar so that a trial date can be scheduled on a date the attorney is available.
RULE NO. 18 SPECIAL RULES APPLICABLE TO CIVIL CASES
A. COURT COSTS.
Notwithstanding the fact that the Judge of this Court may have already signed any Order, the Clerk of Court shall not perform any service or function required thereunder until all costs in such matter are brought current.
B. JUDGMENTS BY DEFAULT
Judgments by default may be entered or confirmed at any sitting of the Court.
C. CONSOLIDATION OF CASES
A Motion to consolidate two or more trials shall be heard contradictorily with all other parties.
In all matters wherein two or more cases are consolidated for purposes of trial, the cases as consolidated shall be assigned to the civil docket to which the case carrying the lowest number had previously been allotted.
D. ASSIGNMENT OF CIVIL CASES FOR TRIAL
In requesting the Court to assign a civil case for trial on its merits or a Rule of Exception requiring testimony for hearing, the written motion shall designate the number of hours or days that the requesting attorney anticipates the trial or hearing will take. The requesting party shall also indicate in writing whether or not the services of a Court Reporter shall be required.
The written motion shall contain the names and current addresses of all counsel or other parties to be notified.
A motion to assign a civil case for trial on its merits shall include in its body a statement to the following effect: “I hereby certify that all issues have been joined and all rules, motions, exceptions, interrogatories, requests for admissions, depositions, and other discovery proceedings have been completed and this matter is ready for trial. I do/do not request a pre-trial conference.”
Opposing parties and counsel shall be furnished by mail with a copy of the Motion and shall notify the Court, in writing, of their request for a pre-trial conference, whether or not they agree the matter is ready for trial and/or whether or not a Court Reporter will be necessary. Any party requesting a Court Reporter is responsible for making arrangements to have a Court Reporter present.
The Judge may schedule a pre-trial conference if he thinks such would be helpful.
When the Judge determines such would be helpful, he may order the parties to submit pre-trial statements within a time period fixed which pre-trial statement shall contain:
1. A brief but comprehensive statement of the party’s contentions.
1. A statement setting forth facts established by pleadings or by stipulation, agreement or admissions.
1. A statement setting forth the contested issues of fact and of law.
2. A list and brief description of exhibits which the party plans to offer in evidence. No other exhibit may be introduced except for good cause shown.
3. A list of witnesses which the party plans to call (except those which may be called for impeachment or rebuttal) and a short statement as to the nature (not as to the content) of their testimony. No other witnesses may be called to testify except for a good cause shown.
4. A statement as to any other matters not coming under the previous headings which may be relevant to a prompt
1. and expeditious disposition of the case.
2. A statement as to the estimated length of time necessary to try the case.
RULE NO. 19 WITHDRAWAL OF COUNSEL
In all criminal and juvenile matters which have been fixed for trial, counsel will not be allowed to withdraw except for good cause (non-payment of attorney’s fees is not good cause) and after a contradictory hearing with the client and appropriate prosecutor.
In all Civil matters which have not been scheduled for trial, an attorney is permitted to withdraw as the attorney of record for a party by ex parte written motion. The client shall be served through the mail with a copy of the written motion of withdrawal and all proceedings in that matter shall be stayed for ten (10) days from the mailing to allow that
party the opportunity to hire an attorney.
In all Civil matters that have been scheduled for trial, an attorney wishing to withdraw as the attorney of record for a party must file a written motion requesting he/she be allowed to withdraw, and a contradictory hearing shall be held with the client and the other parties.
RULE NO. 20 PROHIBITION OF SURETYSHIP OF ATTORNEYS
No Attorney at Law or Officer of Court shall become surety on any bond in any civil or criminal case pending before the Court.
RULE NO. 21 PROCEEDINGS IN FORMA PAUPERIS
Before any judicial proceedings are permitted to be prosecuted or defended pursuant to Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Article 5181, et seq., (Waiver of costs for indigent party), the Court shall determine that the provisions of C.C.P. 5138 (2) have been complied with by inquiring into the facts and satisfying itself that the applicant is entitled to the privilege to be granted. The applicant shall accompany a motion to proceed, and the required attestation of a third party, with detailed personal and economic facts, all under oath, and containing not less than the information provided for in Appendix A of these Rules. The applicant shall appear in court to be questioned under oath by the Judge.
Should the litigant or counsel for any litigant who has been permitted to prosecute or defend in forma pauperis desire to take action in the cause which would increase the expense over and above that normally attendant to trial and appeal, such as but not limited to, the taking of depositions to be used in lieu of a witness’s testimony or otherwise, he shall first present to the Judge a motion which shall be tried contradictorily with the adverse parties to the end that the actual necessity of the same may be terminated. The purpose of this section is to minimize the cost to the public or the party who may ultimately be cast for cost but without in any way prejudicing such litigant’s cause or rights accorded him by the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Article 5181, et seq.
In the event a judicial proceeding is filed and sought to be prosecuted in forma pauperis and the court refuses to permit the applicant to so proceed, the Court may order that the applicant be allowed fifteen (15) days within which to advance the necessary costs and, in default of same, order the dismissal without prejudice of the proceedings. In the further event that the applicant does not within fifteen (15) days from the date of filing either seek the hearing or submit the supporting documents as required by the Rule, the proceeding may be dismissed without prejudice and ex parte on the motion of any party at interest.
RULE NO. 22 EXTENSIONS ON DELAYS FOR FILING AN APPEAL
All motions to extend the time in which an appeal may be filed must be in writing and signed by the Judge.
The Clerk of Court for the 32nd Judicial District Court now requires the following guidelines on every document filed for recordation.
The document shall be captioned as to the type of act on the first page. The first page should have a margin of two (2) inches at the top and one (1) inch at the bottom and sides. The type on each document shall not be less than eight (8) point.
Any document not in compliance with the above, shall have an additional $10.00 non-compliance fee per document.