St. Mary's Law Journal


The Texas judiciary should give “good cause” a single meaning. Ambiguity exists concerning the phrase “good cause” amongst Texas courts. Three different standards of “good cause” currently exist in Texas including: the Stelly/Craddock standard, the Alvarado standard, and the Remington Arms standard. Under the Stelly/Craddock standard—if withdrawal of deemed admissions is requested—“good cause” is required showing the failure was unintentional as a result of an accident or mistake. Under the Alvarado standard—if the request is to offer testimony of a witness who was not timely identified—the court requires a more strict showing of “good cause” not satisfied by an attorney’s mere negligence. Lastly, under the Remington Arms standard—if late filing of objections to discovery is requested—“good cause” is determined on a case-by-case basis. A uniform standard of “good cause” must be adopted and employed by Texas courts. The Stelly/Craddock standard is insufficient because it provides attorneys a huge margin offor error. Any reasonable excuse beyond a conscious indifference may meet “good cause” and this is unacceptable. The Remington Arms standard is also unsatisfactory because it does not provide any basic guidelines or framework. Applying this standard will lead to an unpredictable and uneven application of the law. Texas courts should therefore adopt the Alvarado standard because it does not encourage or allow the negligence of those in the legal profession to go unpunished. It also ensures that each party has notice of the other’s case and thus prevents trial by ambush. The Alvarado standard is best suited to achieve the goal of obtaining a just, fair, equitable and impartial adjudication of the rights of litigants under established principles of substantive law.


St. Mary's University School of Law