Who is the judge in a Small Claims Court case?
Small claims cases in Fort Bend County are heard in front of the justice of the peace for Fort Bend County.
Do I need to 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.
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).
Can I appeal my case?
Yes, but only if the amount in controversy is in excess of $250.
Can I file my case in small claims court?
You cannot demand or ask for more than $10,000 in a small claims court case. (Government Code 28.093). Additionally, a small claims court plaintiff can only ask the court for monetary relief. You are unable to seek injunctive or equitable relief. 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.
Types of Small Claims Cases
Small claims courts handle a wide variety of cases. 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 actions are heard in 5 courthouses throughout Fort Bend County.
Fort Bend County Court Clerk
We recommend contacting the Fort Bend 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. While the clerk can help you with procedural issues, the clerk is not able to give legal advice. They will direct you to an attorney if answering your question would require that.
How are trials conducted?
The trial is relatively informal compared to a normal trial. In fact, the judge in small claims court is charged with developing facts of the case and may question or summon witnesses. Furthermore, the judge is allowed and often ask questions of witnesses and parties to help understand the facts of a case. A small claims court trial is much quicker, often lasting between 15-20 minutes. If a jury trial is required, the trial could last a few hours.
Fort Bend County Court Locations
The precinct map for Fort Bend County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Needville
This courthouse is located at:3114 Rosenberg St Needville, TX 77461-8167
Precinct 1 Place 2 Courthouse in the City of Richmond
This courthouse is located at:1517 Eugene Heimann Cir, Ste 100 Richmond, TX 77469
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 1 Place 2. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (281)341-3742.
Precinct 2 Courthouse in the City of Missouri City
This courthouse is located at:303 Texas Parkway, #107 Missouri City, TX 77489
Precinct 3 Courthouse in the City of Katy
This courthouse is located at:22333 Grand Corner Dr, #102 Katy, TX 77494
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 3. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (281)238-1460.
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Sugar Land
This courthouse is located at:12919 Dairy Ashford, Ste 100 Sugar Land, TX 77478