Are there appeals in small claims court?
A party can appeal a ruling if the amount of the judge’s award is in excess of $250.00.
Can I hire an attorney?
In Texas, small claims parties generally 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). Kaufman County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 4 courthouses in Kaufman County.
Small Claims Court Clerk
We recommend contacting the Kaufman County court clerk before proceeding down to the courthouse to file your action. This will ensure the courthouse is open and someone is available to assist with the filing of your claim. 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.
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). Small claims parties can only recover money. 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 would be called injunctive relief.
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. 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. A jury trial will likely last longer, probably a few hours.
Small Claims Court Case Types
A variety of cases are handled 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.
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).
Who is the judge in a Small Claims Court case?
The justice of the peace for Kaufman County presides over small claims court actions for Kaufman County.
Kaufman County Court Locations
The precinct map for Kaufman County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Courthouse in the City of Kaufman
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 457 Kaufman, TX 75142
Precinct 2 Courthouse in the City of Forney
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 1324 Forney, TX 75126
Precinct 3 Courthouse in the City of Terrell
This courthouse is located at:408 E College Terrell, TX 75160
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 3. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (972)563-9723.
Precinct 4 Courthouse in the City of Kemp
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 191 Kemp, TX 75143