In almost all situations, a negotiated solution to a dispute is quicker, less expensive and more private than litigating in court. Often, judges require litigants to attempt to reach agreement using a trained facilitator called a mediator before they will be allowed to move forward to a courtroom trial. Take full advantage of the available opportunities for mediation. Cooperate fully with the mediator's requests, and see if it's possible to arrive at a negotiated deal that both you and the other side can live with.
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Instead of filing an answer within the time specified in the summons, the defendant can choose to dispute the validity of the complaint by filing a demurrer (in the handful of jurisdictions where that is still allowed) or one or more "pre-answer motions," such as a motion to dismiss. It is important that the motion be filed within the time period specified in the summons for an answer. If all of the above motions are denied by the trial court, and the defendant loses on all appeals from such denials (if that option is available), and finally the defendant must file an answer.
The Telephone Counseling Line provides education and information regarding residential tenant-landlord disputes. Lines are busy, and callers are encouraged to keep trying. Phones are answered by trained housing counselors who offer options, refer callers to other agencies, or suggest legal assistance through Legal Aid, lawyer referral services, etc. The counselors can discuss tenant-landlord rights and responsibilities as described in the Texas Property Code and other sources. However, no attorneys are on staff and ATC counselors cannot offer legal advice. Anyone needing legal advice should contact an attorney.
The official ruling of a lawsuit can be somewhat misleading because post-ruling outcomes are often not listed on the internet. For example, in the case of William J. Ralph Jr. v. Lind-Waldock & Company (September 1999), one would assume that Mr. Ralph lost the case when in fact, upon review of the evidence, it as found that Mr. Ralph was correct in his assertion that improper activity took place on the part of Lind-Waldock, and Mr. Ralph settled with Lind-Waldock.