Small Claims actions are heard in 4 courthouses throughout Freestone County.
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. You are not required to have an attorney, but you are allowed one. (Government Code 28.003).
Small Claims Court Case Types
Most cases for the recovery of money can be heard in small claims court. Cases include damages from an automobile accident, a security deposit from a landlord, or breach of a contract. However, small claims court cannot handle assignments of claims (where one person transfers their interest in an action to another), a divorce proceedings, and cases filed by collection agencies or agents.
Judges for Small Claims Court Cases in Freestone County
A Justice of the Peace for Freestone County hears small claims court cases for Freestone County.
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 file my case in 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 cannot seek injunctive 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 type of relief would be injunctive relief.
How are trials conducted?
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. 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. However, if a party wishes for a jury trial, it will likely last a few hours.
Clerk’s Role in Small Claims Court Actions
The clerk is often the first person small claims court litigants interact with in their case. The clerk is knowledgeable at all of the procedures and will be able to inform you of any specific local procedures for Freestone County. We recommend calling the clerk’s office to ensure the courthouse is open. Remember, the court clerk is trained to assist with procedural questions, but is not able to give legal advice.
Can I appeal my case?
A party can appeal a ruling if the amount of the judge’s award is in excess of $250.00.
Freestone County Court Locations
Precinct 1 Courthouse in the City of Fairfield
This courthouse is located at:440 E Main Fairfield, TX 75840
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 1. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (903)389-8783.
Precinct 2 Courthouse in the City of Teague
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 218 Teague, TX 75860
Precinct 3 Courthouse in the City of Fairfield
This courthouse is located at:440 E Main, Ste 3 Fairfield, TX 75840-4336
Precinct 4 Courthouse in the City of Fairfield
This courthouse is located at:112 E Main, Ste 204 Fairfield, TX 75840