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. 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. It will likely be pretty quick. A jury trial will likely last longer, probably a few hours.
Where do I file my small claims court case?
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).
Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
The plaintiff’s demand for money cannot exceed $10,000. (Texas Government Code 28.093). Another restriction of small claims court is that a plaintiff can only seek monetary relief (an award of money). The court has no authority to issue an injunctive or equitable award. 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.
Are there appeals in small claims court?
Appeals are allowed if the amount of the award exceeds $250.00.
Judges for Small Claims Court Cases in Johnson County
Small claims cases in Johnson County are heard in front of the justice of the peace for Johnson County.
Types of Cases
A variety of cases are handled 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. 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.
Do I need to hire an Attorney?
Small claims court litigants in Texas normally represent themselves without an attorney. 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 actions are heard in 4 courthouses throughout Johnson County.
Clerk’s Role in Small Claims Court Actions
The clerk is often the first person small claims court litigants interact with in their case. This will ensure the courthouse is open and someone is available to assist with the filing of your claim. Also, while the clerk can answer questions about procedures, the clerk cannot give legal advice.
Johnson County Court Locations
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Cleburne
This courthouse is located at:226 Featherston Cleburne, TX 76033-5454
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Burleson
This courthouse is located at:247 Elk Dr, Ste 107 Burleson, TX 76028-5645
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 2 Place 1. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (817)558-0111 – ext. 2543 . And you can email the court by clicking here.
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Alvarado
This courthouse is located at:206 N Baugh St Alvarado, TX 76009-4372
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Cleburne
This courthouse is located at:2 N Main Cleburne, TX 76033