Continuance Motions: They Need to be Written!

Continuance motions need to be written.The rules of civil procedure require that a continuance motion be verified: “No application for a continuance shall be heard before the defendant files his defense, nor shall any continuance be granted except for sufficient cause supported by affidavit, or by consent of the parties, or by operation of law.” Tex. R. Civ. P. 251.

Texas courts interpret this rule as requiring that continuance motions be made in writing. “If a motion for continuance is not made in writing and verified, it will be presumed that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the motion.” Jimison v. Tex. Workforce Comm’n Prof. Caretakers, Inc., No. 2-09-127-CV, 2010 WL 851418, at *2 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth Mar. 11, 2010, no pet.) (mem. op.) (citations omitted).

Texas appellate courts have held repeatedly that a trial court does not abuse its discretion by denying an oral motion for continuance. See, e.g., Metro Aviation v. Bristow Offshore Helicopters, Inc., 740 S.W.2d 873, 874 (Tex. App.—Beaumont 1987, no writ); Green v. Tex. Dep’t of Protective & Regulatory Servs., 25 S.W.3d 213, 218 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2000, no pet.) (citation omitted); Favaloro v. Comm’n for Lawyer Discipline, 13 S.W.3d 831, 838 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2000, no pet.) (citations omitted).

So, if you are seeking a continuance, be sure that your motion is in writing and verified under the rule!