27 Jan 2014

Amended Texas Rule Allows Lawyers to Serve Court Documents by Email

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Lawyers who practice in Texas stand to save a lot of time and money starting this year. As of January 1, 2014, amendments to Texas rules TRCP 21a(a)(2) and TRAP 9.5(b) now permit service of court documents by email.

The amended rules allow certain court documents, traditionally served by courier or certified first class postal mail, to be served by email. Examples of documents that can now be served electronically include discovery notices, dispute notices associated with discovery requests, meet and confer notices and requests, and emergency motions.

Lawyers who take advantage of the recent rule changes can reduce administrative time and costs when serving documents to opposing counsel and costs associated with couriers and certified first class or express mail.

Before these benefits can be realized, lawyers need to understand two critical things:

  1. When service by email is deemed “complete” by law
  2. How to prove service of documents (served by email) when opposing counsel claims non-receipt

Just as lawyers understand it’s a good practice to retain a registered mailing receipt tracking slip when serving paper documents using certified postal mail, FedEx or another method to prove service is complete, this same concept applies to emailing documents as well. It’s for this reason savvy lawyers are using RPost’s Registered Email® service to obtain automatic receipts proving successful delivery of their served electronic documents.

Be sure to download RPost’s best practice guide which covers the updated amendments and discusses what we believe constitutes “complete” service for documents served by email.