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. This is largely because the amount at issue in the case is not large enough to justify the hiring of an attorney. Nevertheless, you are allowed to retain one if you desire. (Texas Government Code Section 28.003).
Can I file my case in small claims court?
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, 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. You could only ask the court for an award of money.
What can I expect at trial?
The trial is relatively informal compared to a normal 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. Trials generally are pretty short (15-20 minutes). If a jury trial is required, the trial could last a few hours.
Small Claims Court Clerk
We recommend contacting the Duval County court clerk before proceeding down to the courthouse to file your action. The clerk is knowledgeable at all of the procedures and will be able to inform you of any specific local procedures for Duval County. We recommend calling the clerk’s office to ensure the courthouse is open. Also, while the clerk can answer questions about procedures, the clerk cannot give legal advice.
Can I appeal my case?
Appeals are allowed if the amount of the award exceeds $250.00.
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).
A Justice of the Peace for Duval County hears small claims court cases for Duval County. Duval County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 4 courthouses in Duval County.
Types of Cases
Most cases for the recovery of money can be heard in small claims court. From a security deposit on a rental to a motor vehicle 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.
Duval County Court Locations
The precinct map for Duval County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of San Diego
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 429 San Diego, TX 78384
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 1 Place 1. The phone number for the court is (361)279-6218.
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of San Diego
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 1065 San Diego, TX 78384
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 2 Place 1. The phone number for the court is (361)279-6245.
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Benavides
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 756 Benavides, TX 78341
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 3 Place 1. The phone number for the court is (361)256-3982.
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Freer
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 841 Freer, TX 78357
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 4 Place 1. The phone number for the court is (361)394-6011. And you can email the court by clicking here.