How are trials conducted?
Small claims court trials are very informal compared to a regular civil trial. In fact, the judge in small claims court is charged with developing facts of the case and may question or summon witnesses. Generally the judge will ask questions to help develop the facts and understand the context and circumstances surrounding the case. Trials generally are pretty short (15-20 minutes). However, if a party wishes for a jury trial, it will likely last a few hours.
Types of Cases
Most cases for the recovery of money can be heard in small claims court. This could be an action to get your security deposit back, or an action to recover money for damage done to your vehicle after a car accident. However, small claims court cannot handle assignments of claims (where one person transfers their interest in an action to another), a divorce proceedings, and cases filed by collection agencies or agents.
Are Appeals Allowed?
A party can appeal a ruling if the amount of the judge’s award is in excess of $250.00.
Can I hire an attorney?
You are allowed to hire an attorney (Texas Government Code Section 28.003), however, most small claims court parties choose to represent themselves. This is largely because the amount at issue in the case is not large enough to justify the hiring of an attorney. However, you are allowed to retain one if you choose.
Judges for Small Claims Court Cases in Bailey County
A Justice of the Peace for Bailey County hears small claims court cases for Bailey County.
Limit (or Jurisdiction) of Small Claims Court
A plaintiff cannot demand more than $10,000 in their action. (Texas Government Code 28.093). Another restriction of small claims court is that a plaintiff can only seek monetary relief (an award of money). You are unable to seek injunctive or equitable relief. Say your landscaper breaks a sprinkler head. You can ask the court for money to replace the sprinkler head, but you cannot ask the court for an order requiring the landscaper to physically replace the sprinkler head. This type of relief would be injunctive relief.
Bailey County Court Clerk
The clerk at the courthouse can be an excellent resource for your case. This will ensure the courthouse is open and someone is available to assist with the filing of your claim. Remember, the court clerk is trained to assist with procedural questions, but is not able to give legal advice. Small Claims Court cases for Bailey are heard in 1 LOCATIONS throughout Bailey County.
Where do I file my small claims court case?
In order to follow correct procedure, a small claims case needs to be filed in the proper county and precinct. In Texas, the action is filed in the County and Precinct where the defendants reside or where a contract was to be performed. (Government Code Section 28.011).
Bailey County Court Locations
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Muleshoe
This courthouse is located at:306 W 2nd, Ste B Muleshoe, TX 79347