Texas Small Claims Cases

 

Small claims cases are great because you can file so many different types of cases!  TheTexas Government Code Sec. 27.031 spells out the types of cases over which the Justice Courts have jurisdiction:

(1) civil matters where the amount in controversy is less than $20,000.00;

(2) civil matters that aren’t required to be filed in District Court or County Court (there’s a list); and

(3) evictions (legally called forcible entry and detainer).

However, Justice Courts do NOT have jurisdiction over the following types of cases:  a suit for divorce, a suit to recover damages for slander or defamation of character, or a suit for trial of title to land (and others).

 

So what types of cases can you file?  Here’s a list of the types of cases we’ve seen or handled:

 

 

 

If you’ve just settled a case, we can also help you draft a settlement agreement.

 

 

TIPS

Though no outcome is guaranteed when you put your case in the hands of a judge or jury, following these tips will help you present your case in the best possible way:

  • Wear business casual clothes to court (at a minimum).
  • Keep updated contact information with the court clerk.
  • Decide early what evidence you have.  Witness testimony?  Documents?  Photographs?
  • Decide early if you want a judge or a jury to decide your case.  If you want a jury, you must pay the jury fee early.
  • Always show up on your court date or call the court clerk early to ask for an extension or continuance.  If you don’t show up, your case may be dismissed or a judgment taken against you.
  • Write down notes of what you want to say and what your story is.
  • Do not expect the court or the other side to prove your case for you.  THIS IS YOUR JOB.