Types of Cases
Small claims courts handle a wide variety of cases. This could be an action to get your security deposit back, or an action to recover money for damage done to your vehicle after a car accident. 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.
Are Appeals Allowed?
Appeals are allowed if the amount of the award exceeds $250.00.
Who is the judge in a Small Claims Court case?
A Justice of the Peace for Gaines County hears small claims court cases for Gaines County.
Can I file my case in small claims court?
The plaintiff’s demand for money cannot exceed $10,000. (Texas Government Code 28.093). Additionally, a small claims court plaintiff can only ask the court for monetary relief. 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 would be called injunctive relief.
Clerk’s Role in Small Claims Court Actions
The clerk at the courthouse can be an excellent resource for your case. The clerk is knowledgeable at all of the procedures and will be able to inform you of any specific local procedures for Gaines 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. Small Claims actions are heard in 2 courthouses throughout Gaines County.
Where do I file my small claims court case?
You should file your action in the County and specific Precinct where the defendants reside or where the defendant has contracted to perform. (Government Code Section 28.011).
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. 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.
Do I need A Lawyer?
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. You are not required to have an attorney, but you are allowed one. (Government Code 28.003).
Gaines County Court Locations
The precinct map for Gaines County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Seminole
This courthouse is located at:101 S Main, Rm 100 Seminole, TX 79360-4341
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Seagraves
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 755 Seagraves, TX 79359-0755