WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE TEXAS ANSWER DEADLINE FALLS ON A MONDAY THAT’S ALSO A HOLIDAY?
As noted in this post about our Texas Deadline Calculator, when a defendant has been served with a lawsuit in a Texas district court or county court, in most cases their answer is due on or before 10:00 AM the Monday next following the expiration of 20 days. But what happens if the Monday when the answer is due turns out to be a court holiday and the courthouse is closed?
When the Monday an answer is due is a holiday and the courthouse is therefore closed, the deadline for answering changes. In such cases, the deadline is extended to the next business day when the courthouse is open. Usually, the deadline is then pushed to Tuesday. And according to Rule 4 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, when the answer deadline is delayed to the next business day in this manner, the deadline will extend until the end of the business day (as opposed to the 10:00 AM deadline that normally applies). This time may vary, however, depending on the time a particular courthouse closes.
Monday holidays are not uncommon in Texas. In fact, Texas has five national holidays that always fall on a Monday: Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day. Several other observed holidays, such as New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Veteran’s Day, and Christmas Day, may fall on a Monday as well.
Holiday schedules and observances may vary from county to county. Accordingly, you should always check the court’s website for information about holidays and court closures. The County Commissioners in each of the 254 counties in Texas establish their own county holidays. This determines when the local courthouse is open or closed in that particular county. For example, some businesses maybe closed on Veteran’s Day, but government offices in Dallas and Tarrant County remain open.
The importance of checking the status of a particular courthouse for the purposes of calculating a court deadline cannot be understated. If a courthouse is closed for some reason other than a holiday observance, such as inclement weather, the next business day when the courthouse is open might not be on Tuesday. In those cases, check the venue’s website or call the clerk to see if there is an automated message about the expected length of closure.