Who is the judge in a Small Claims Court case?
Small claims cases in Fayette County are heard in front of the justice of the peace for Fayette County.
What is the trial like?
The trial is relatively informal compared to a normal trial. There are no rules of evidence. 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). If a jury trial is required, the trial could last a few hours.
Can I appeal my case?
Appeals are allowed if the amount of the award exceeds $250.00. Small Claims actions are heard in 4 courthouses throughout Fayette County.
Can I hire an attorney?
In Texas, small claims parties generally represent themselves without an attorney. This is largely because the amount at issue in the case is not large enough to justify the hiring of an attorney. 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. Cases include damages from an automobile accident, a security deposit from a landlord, or breach of a contract. 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.
Small Claims 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.
Can I file my small claims case in Fayette 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).
Limit (or Jurisdiction) of Small Claims Court
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). 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. This would be called injunctive relief.
Fayette County Court Locations
The precinct map for Fayette County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of La Grange
This courthouse is located at:1646 N Jefferson St La Grange, TX 78945
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Fayetteville
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 458 Fayetteville, TX 78940-0458
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Flatonia
This courthouse is located at:P O Box A Flatonia, TX 78941
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Schulenburg
This courthouse is located at:312 Paulus St Schulenburg, TX 78956
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 4 Place 1. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (979)743-4041.