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Uniform Docketing Statement Released

Posted in Appellate Practice, Procedure

I was so preoccupied with last week’s State Bar Annual Meeting that I overlooked a significant development relevant to Texas appellate practitioners: the release of a uniform docketing statement for the intermediate courts of appeals. View the official announcement here.

A docketing statement is an administrative tool used to collect and provide the court of appeals with information about your case. Filing one is not jurisdictional, but the appellate rules require it. Among other things, clerk’s offices use the information to screen for jurisdictional defects.

If you’ve ever completed a docketing statement, you’ll love the new form. Before, different courts of appeals utilized different forms that had to be downloaded from each court’s website. Spacing and formatting were inconsistent, and overwriting a docketing statement from an earlier case didn’t always work well.

The new uniform docketing statement is a clean, well-thought-out, fillable PDF. It is available in the forms section of each court’s website (all of which are linked here). Take a peek to the right of this text for a sense of what the document looks like.

Believe me, this is a big improvement over what we had before. Many thanks to the Office of Court Administration and the committee of appellate-court clerks who made this happen.

  • http://doncruse.com Don Cruse

    As it happens, I also spent some time today thinking and talking about the new docketing-statement form. It’s a big step in the right direction. But it’s also an unfortunate example of how Adobe hides proprietary up-sells within the PDF standard.
    Based on your reaction, I suspect you have a fully paid license to the latest Acrobat X Pro. I’m still using my paid license for Acrobat 9 Pro, and this new form doesn’t work properly. So I tried out the free version of Acrobat Reader X in both Mac and Windows. The form loads and you can enter data — but you can’t save it as a native PDF. The only option that Adobe allows for the free software is to print the filled-out form to paper, so you can scan it back in before e-filing.
    I had some nice exchanges with court and OCA folks today relaying my experience using the form, and I understand that they are already thinking about solutions. For now, however, the “print, scan, file” kludge appears to be the only option available to many filers.

  • http://www.texasappellatelawblog.com D. Todd Smith

    You are correct, Don–I have Acrobat Pro X for Mac. But my assistant has Acrobat 9 (not Pro) on a PC and is able to save data to the form no problem.

  • http://doncruse.com Don Cruse

    Yes, to be clear, I’m also happy about the efforts being made by OCA here. If there are any villains in this story, they are the product managers at Adobe.
    I could save as PDF from my copy of Acrobat 9 Pro, but I cannot actually fill in the whole form before doing so. Some of the features needed Acrobat X.
    With that in mind, is your assistant’s version of Acrobat 9 able to actually use the buttons on the form — like the (nice) button to add additional appellees? That changes the layout of the document in Acrobat X — but has no effect in my copy of Acrobat 9 Pro for Mac.
    I had a similar issue with the checkbox for whether a party is an “organization” rather than a person. If you check that box in Acrobat X, then it immediately adds a new field for the organization name. In Acrobat 9, checking the box has no effect — so I sat there pondering if a corporate name was a “First Name” or a “Last Name.” (I opted for “First Name” on the theory that all corporate names are given names.)

  • http://www.texasappellatelawblog.com D. Todd Smith

    Yes, my assistant was able to use the expansion buttons with Acrobat 9 Standard for PC.