What is the trial like?
Small claims court trials are very informal compared to a regular civil trial. There are no rules of evidence. Furthermore, the judge is allowed and often ask questions of witnesses and parties to help understand the facts of a case. A small claims court trial is much quicker, often lasting between 15-20 minutes. If a jury trial is required, the trial could last a few hours.
Small Claims Court Clerk
We recommend contacting the Caldwell County court clerk before proceeding down to the courthouse to file your action. 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. Also, while the clerk can answer questions about procedures, the clerk cannot give legal advice.
Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
The plaintiff’s demand for money cannot exceed $10,000. (Texas Government Code 28.093). Additionally, a small claims court plaintiff can only ask the court for monetary relief. You cannot seek injunctive relief. For example, you could sue a dry cleaner for ruining your clothes and ask for money to replace the clothes, but you cannot ask the judge for an order for the dry cleaner to repair your clothes. This type of relief would be injunctive relief.
Small Claims Court Venue
The action is generally filed in the County and Precinct where the defendants reside (where they live) or where location where the Defendants contracted themselves to perform. (Texas Government Code Section 28.011).
Judges for Small Claims Court Cases in Caldwell County
The justice of the peace for Caldwell County presides over small claims court actions for Caldwell County.
Can I hire an attorney?
In Texas, small claims parties generally represent themselves without an attorney. The reasoning behind this is because the amount is $10,000 or less, hiring an attorney becomes cost prohibitive. You are not required to have an attorney, but you are allowed one. (Government Code 28.003).
Types of Cases
A variety of cases are handled 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. 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.
Are Appeals Allowed?
A party can appeal a ruling if the amount of the judge’s award is in excess of $250.00. Small Claims Court cases for Caldwell are heard in 4 LOCATIONS throughout Caldwell County.
Caldwell County Court Locations
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Lockhart
This courthouse is located at:
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Luling
This courthouse is located at:505 E Fannin Luling, TX 78648
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Maxwell
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 145 Maxwell, TX 78656-0145
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Lockhart
This courthouse is located at:405 E Market St Lockhart, TX 78644-2872