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).
Can I appeal my case?
A party can appeal a ruling if the amount of the judge’s award is in excess of $250.00.
What can I expect at trial?
Small claims court trials are very informal compared to a regular civil trial. This allows the trials to be conducted in a much more informal fashion. Additionally, the judge is allowed to ask questions of the parties and witnesses, and generally takes a more proactive role in determining the facts of a 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
A variety of cases are handled in small claims court. From a security deposit on a rental to a motor vehicle 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.
Calhoun 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.
Limit (or Jurisdiction) of Small Claims Court
A plaintiff cannot demand more than $10,000 in their action. (Texas Government Code 28.093). Small claims parties can only recover 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. You could only ask the court for an award of money. Small Claims actions are heard in 5 courthouses throughout Calhoun County.
Who is the judge in a Small Claims Court case?
The justice of the peace for Calhoun County presides over small claims court actions for Calhoun County.
Can I file my small claims case in Calhoun County?
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).
Calhoun County Court Locations
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Port Lavaca
This courthouse is located at:201 W Austin St, Rm 2 Port Lavaca, TX 77979-4210
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Port Lavaca
This courthouse is located at:201 W Austin St, Rm 11 Port Lavaca, TX 77979-4210
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Point Comfort
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 542 Point Comfort, TX 77978-0542
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Seadrift
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 520 Seadrift, TX 77983-0520
Precinct 5 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Port O’Connor
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 454 Port O’Connor, TX 77982-0454