top of page
  • Writer's picturePhil Griffis

How Long Do I Have to Answer a Lawsuit in Texas?

Updated: Mar 31, 2019

Learning that you or your company has been sued is a stressful event.  Anger, annoyance and disbelief are normal.   But if you are sued, set those emotions aside, relax and call an attorney. Don’t wait or lay the suit papers on your desk.  The clock is ticking! Once you or your company has been sued, you have only a certain amount of time to answer the case, which means filing papers, in the same court the suit is filed in, that lists all of your defenses to the suit.  If you don’t file an answer by the deadline, the person or company that is suing you (called the “plaintiff”) can go to court and take a default judgment against you.   This means that the plaintiff can tell the court you haven’t answered and are in default.  The plaintiff can ask the judge, then and there, to award him everything he is asking for.  And since you are not there, you can’t defend yourself!

There are several different kinds of courts in Texas, and each has a slightly different deadline to answer.   And of course different states have very different requirements.  Here are the deadlines to answer a lawsuit in Texas courts:

1. Texas District and County Courts: Your answer must be filed on or before 10:00 a.m. on the Monday next after the expiration of 20 days after you are served with the suit.

2. Texas Justice Courts: Your answer must be filed by the end of the 14th day after the day you were served with the papers. If the 14th day is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, your answer is due by the end of the first day following the 14th day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

3. United States District Courts in Texas: Your answer is due within 21 days after being served with the summons and complaint.

As you can see, even figuring out when to answer is complicated, and there are lots of potential defenses to the suit that you can waive (meaning “give up”) if you don’t put them in your initial answer.

Bottom line.  If you are sued take a deep breath, don’t delay, and call an experienced trial attorney to ask what you need to file, and when.  Call us if we can help.


Phil Griffis obtained his first jury verdict in 1990, when he convinced a jury that a customer’s fall at his client’s store did not cause the customer’s aspiration pneumonia and stroke. In the years since he has continued to win in courtrooms across the State of Texas.

21 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Next Up For Fox News - The Smartmatic Lawsuit

Fox News will have little “breathing room” following its enormous three-quarters of a billion dollars defamation settlement payout to Dominion Voting Systems. Waiting in the wings of the courthouse is

Shareholders Sue Southwest For Mass Flight Cancellations

A shareholder class action lawsuit has been filed against Southwest Airlines in response to the operational disaster that resulted in nearly 17,000 canceled flights over the recent holiday travel seas

Buying Time for Your Business with Standstill Agreements

Standstill Agreements are a little known legal tool that could literally save your business, or someone else’s, during the current crisis. At its most basic, a Standstill Agreement puts a temporary "f


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page