What is the trial like?
Unlike regular civil trials, small claims court rules do not follow the Rules of Evidence. In fact, the judge in small claims court is charged with developing facts of the case and may question or summon witnesses. 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. A small claims court trial is much quicker, often lasting between 15-20 minutes. A jury trial will likely last longer, probably a few hours. Small Claims actions are heard in 2 courthouses throughout Coke County.
Can I appeal my case?
Yes, but only if the amount in controversy is in excess of $250.
The justice of the peace for Coke County presides over small claims court actions for Coke County.
Clerk’s Role in Small Claims Court Actions
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.
Where do I file my small claims court case?
You should file your action in the County and specific Precinct where the defendants reside or where the defendant has contracted to perform. (Government Code Section 28.011).
Do I need A Lawyer?
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. However, you are allowed to retain one if you choose.
Types of Small Claims 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. Under Texas law, collections cases and claim assignments cannot be heard in small claims court.
Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
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). The court has no authority to issue an injunctive or equitable award. 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.
Coke County Court Locations
The precinct map for Coke County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Courthouse in the City of Robert Lee
This courthouse is located at:13 E 7th Robert Lee, TX 76945
Precinct 2 Courthouse in the City of Bronte
This courthouse is located at:P O Drawer K Bronte, TX 76933-0405