Types of Small Claims Cases
Most cases for the recovery of money can be heard in small claims court. Cases include damages from an automobile accident, a security deposit from a landlord, or breach of a contract. The only types of cases that are prohibited are an assignment of a claim (whereby you transfer your interest in a case for someone else to collect), a divorce, or a case filed by a collection agency or agents.
Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
The plaintiff’s demand for money cannot exceed $10,000. (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 cannot seek injunctive relief. For example, if you pay a painter $1,000 to paint your house and the painter does not even begin, you cannot ask the court to issue an order for the painter to paint your house. This type of relief would be injunctive relief.
What is the trial like?
Small claims court trials are very informal compared to a regular civil trial. There are no rules of evidence. 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.
Do I need to hire an Attorney?
Small claims court litigants in Texas normally represent themselves without an attorney. The reasoning behind this is because the amount is $10,000 or less, hiring an attorney becomes cost prohibitive. Nevertheless, you are allowed to retain one if you desire. (Texas Government Code Section 28.003).
A Justice of the Peace for Brazoria County hears small claims court cases for Brazoria County.
Small Claims Court Venue
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). Brazoria County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 8 courthouses in Brazoria County.
Are Appeals Allowed?
Yes, but only if the amount in controversy is in excess of $250.
Clerk’s Role in Small Claims Court Actions
The clerk is often the first person small claims court litigants interact with in their case. The clerk is an excellent resource for the procedure for small claims court cases in Texas but also any procedures specific to that County or courthouse. It is recommended that you contact the clerk’s office to ensure the courthouse is open during the hours you want to visit. While the clerk can help you with procedural issues, the clerk is not able to give legal advice. They will direct you to an attorney if answering your question would require that.
Brazoria County Court Locations
The precinct map for Brazoria County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Lake Jackson
This courthouse is located at:309 Plantation Lake Jackson, TX 77566-6142
Precinct 1 Place 2 Courthouse in the City of Freeport
This courthouse is located at:210 A W 1st St Freeport, TX 77541
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Manvel
This courthouse is located at:7313 Corporate Dr Manvel, TX 77578
Precinct 2 Place 2 Courthouse in the City of Angleton
This courthouse is located at:111 E Locust, Rm 110 Angleton, TX 77515
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Alvin
This courthouse is located at:260 George St, Ste 100 Alvin, TX 77511
Precinct 3 Place 2 Courthouse in the City of Pearland
This courthouse is located at:2436 S Grand Blvd, Ste 110 Pearland, TX 77581-4267
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Manvel
This courthouse is located at:3633 CR 58 Manvel, TX 77578-2920
Precinct 4 Place 2 Courthouse in the City of West Columbia
This courthouse is located at:121 N 10th St West Columbia, TX 77486