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Cases from the 352nd District Court

Welcome to the 352nd District Court.  The purpose of this website is to provide a history of the more interesting or notable cases from the 352nd District Court of Tarrant County, Texas.

A Brief History of the 352nd District Court:

The 352nd District Court is a district court which serves all citizens of Tarrant County, Texas. Since the 352nd District Court was established on September 1, 1984, only three judges have served in its history.

John G. Street, a Tarrant County civil trial lawyer, was elected to the 352nd District Court on November 16, 1984.  Judge Street was a Democrat who served in that position until December 31, 1988, having being defeated for re-election in the 1988 election by Republican Bruce Auld, a Tarrant County civil trial attorney.  On January 1, 1989, Judge Bruce Auld took the bench, where he served until December of 1995.  Judge Auld resigned due to illness and died a short time thereafter.  Judge Bonnie Sudderth, the former Chief Judge of the Fort Worth Muncipal Court, ran in a contested Republican primary for election to the 352nd District Court bench, winning the seat for a term that would commence on January 1, 1997.  However, because the bench was vacant at the time of her primary election, then-Governor George W. Bush appointed her to fill the vacancy for the remainder of 1996.  (She had no opponent in the general election of November, 1996.)  Judge Sudderth has been re-elected three times to the 352nd District Court and is now serving her fourth term in office.  As such, Judge Sudderth is the longest-serving judge of the 352nd District Court.

Although the 352nd District Court has general jurisdiction to hear all matters properly filed in a district-level court – civil, criminal, family and juvenile cases – in practice, the court hears only civil cases. When the Texas Legislature created the 352nd District Court, it directed that this court would give preference to civil cases; therefore, pursuant to Section 24.498 of the Texas Government Code, all cases which are currently assigned to the 352nd District Court involve civil disputes.

The 352nd District Court is a trial court. Traditional notions of a “trial” usually center around the concept of a jury of 12 citizens serving as the ultimate arbiter of the case. However, most cases in the 352nd District Court are either “tried to the bench” (meaning that all matters of law and fact are presented to the judge for determination) or adjudicated by the judge as a result of a pre-trial motion. Jury trials in civil district court cases are rare today, the vast majority of cases being resolved in some manner other than a full jury trial on the merits.

Civil cases are varied and often complex, involving multiple parties and multiple legal issues in dispute. Among the many different types of cases which are filed in the 352nd District Court are cases involving:

Business entities
Class actions
Commercial litigation
Contracts
Debt collection
Employment and discrimination
Foreclosures
Insurance
Intellectual property
Medical and other professional malpractice
Oil and gas
Partnership dissolutions
Personal injury
Premises security
Property taxes
Real estate ownership and title
Worker’s compensation appeals
Wrongful death and survivorship

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