Harris County 80th District Judge “Flyin” Larry Weiman really moves his trial docket

As personal injury trial lawyers we are thankful for the hard work and dedication of ALL the incumbent Harris County Civil District Court Judges and their dedication to the administration of speedy and fair justice. Judge Larry Weiman of the 80th Civil District Court is particularly deserving of a pat on the back for the speed at which he gets cases on his court’s docket to trial.

Harris County, Texas has a very busy civil district court system. For example, yesterday (Wednesday July 6, 2011) there were 67 new civil lawsuits filed in Harris County District Court. Assuming that is a fairly typical number, that’s 24,445 new suits filed in a year. There are currently 24 civil district judges in Harris County, so that’s just over 1,000 new lawsuits annually for each judge.

In civil litigation delay doesn’t do anybody any good. Lawyers want to move their clients’ cases toward resolution and the parties involved typically want to get the case over and done with so they can have some closure and put it behind them. Judge Larry Weiman is a standout in making that happen. Using the one year period beginning June 1, 2010 and ending June 1, 2011 as a sample, statistics on the Harris County District Clerk’s web site show that Judge Weiman tried more jury trials in his courtroom than any of the other civil district judges.  Judge Weiman had 23 jury trial in his courtroom in that time period, as compared to the average number of jury trials across all courts of 12 trials, nearly twice the average.

Judge Weiman also uses a novel method to set cases for trial. After a lawsuit is filed, courts issue what is called a Docket Control Order (DCO) that notifies the Plaintiff and Defendant of important deadlines in the lawsuit, including the trial setting for the case. The parties have no input into when their case is initially set for trial. What Judge Larry Weiman does when a new suit is filed is informs both sides of the lawsuit in writing that they are to work together and create their own Docket Control Order, then present it to the court by a certain date. This gives the parties to the lawsuit the chance to set deadlines and choose a trial date appropriate to the case. For example: in a simple automobile accident case less time for discovery and an earlier trial date would probably be appropriate and would benefit both sides in getting the case resolved sooner. On the other hand a complex commercial dispute with multiple parties will need more discovery time and a trial date that is further out to allow an opportunity to fully develop the case before trial.

Thanks are due to Judge “Flyin” Larry Weiman of the 80th Civil District Court for his hard work and innovations in making the civil justice system in Harris County better for lawyers and parties alike.

Judge Larry Weiman of the 80th Civil District Court, Harris County, Texas