Are Appeals Allowed?
Yes, but only if the amount in controversy is in excess of $250.
Who is the judge in a Small Claims Court case?
The justice of the peace for Galveston County presides over small claims court actions for Galveston County.
Can I hire an attorney?
Small claims court litigants in Texas normally represent themselves without an attorney. This is because cases involving $10,000 or less usually do not justify the cost of an attorney. Nevertheless, you are allowed to retain one if you desire. (Texas Government Code Section 28.003). Small Claims actions are heard in 4 courthouses throughout Galveston County.
Limit (or Jurisdiction) of 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. 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. You could only ask the court for an award of money.
What is the trial like?
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. Generally the judge will ask questions to help develop the facts and understand the context and circumstances surrounding the 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.
Small Claims Court Venue
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).
Types of Small Claims Cases
Most cases for the recovery of money can be heard in small claims court. 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. Under Texas law, collections cases and claim assignments cannot be heard in small claims court.
Clerk’s Role in Small Claims Court Actions
We recommend contacting the Galveston 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 Galveston 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.
Galveston County Court Locations
Precinct 1 Courthouse in the City of Bacliff
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 8327 Bacliff, TX 77518-8327
Precinct 2 Courthouse in the City of Galveston
This courthouse is located at:1922 Sealy Ave Galveston, TX 77550
Precinct 3 Courthouse in the City of Galveston
This courthouse is located at:600 59th St, 1st Fl Galveston, TX 77551
Precinct 4 Courthouse in the City of League City
This courthouse is located at:174 Calder Rd, Rm 111 League City, TX 77573