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. 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.
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).
Clerk’s Role in Small Claims Court Actions
We recommend contacting the Colorado 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. Remember, the court clerk is trained to assist with procedural questions, but is not able to give legal advice. Small Claims Court cases for Colorado are heard in 4 LOCATIONS throughout Colorado County.
Types of Cases
A variety of cases are handled in small claims court. Cases include damages from an automobile accident, a security deposit from a landlord, or breach of a contract. Under Texas law, collections cases and claim assignments cannot be heard in small claims court.
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). 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.
Are Appeals Allowed?
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. Generally the judge will ask questions to help develop the facts and understand the context and circumstances surrounding the case. It will likely be pretty quick. However, if a party wishes for a jury trial, it will likely last a few hours.
Who is the judge in a Small Claims Court case?
A Justice of the Peace for Colorado County hears small claims court cases for Colorado County.
Colorado County Court Locations
The precinct map for Colorado County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Columbus
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 783 Columbus, TX 78934-0783
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Weimar
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 945 Weimar, TX 78962
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Columbus
This courthouse is located at:1117 Travis St Columbus, TX 78934
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Eagle Lake
This courthouse is located at:P O Drawer 396 Eagle Lake, TX 77434-0396