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Just so I understand this correctly, the plaintiff's attorney has not objected (but would not consent) to your request for an extension of time, and you want to know if it would be best to go ahead with a hearing on your motion?
Yes, that's correct. I'm not sure if he can simply appear at the hearing an submit an objection though.
In theory, he can just show up and make an objection. However, technically only the judge can cancel the hearing. The judge may want to hear argument, especially if the judge knows the other party is opposing.
Also, having a hearing will give you the opportunity to articulate your reasons.
I read in TRCP 191.4(b)(2) that motions and responses to motions pertaining to discovery matters must be filed but I guess he could file his objection just prior to the hearing.
That is correct, but a judge can accept a "bench filing," where someone files it directly with the court at the time of the hearing.
My suggestion is that you go through the hearing.
The fact that I have already answered should make the matter moot I thought. Surely the judge wouldn't punish me drastically in such a case.
In theory, he could strike the answers as a discovery sanction, but that would be extremely unusual, unless this has been a problem throughout the case. That is another reason to have a hearing. The judge will have a more difficult time doing something so drastic in your presence. Also, if the plaintiff's attorney is being unreasonable, that will give the judge a chance to see that.
That, of course, is more of a litigation strategy issue.