Do I need to 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 Clerk
We recommend contacting the Knox 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.
Limit (or Jurisdiction) of Small Claims Court
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). You are unable to seek injunctive or equitable relief. For example, you could sue a dry cleaner for ruining your clothes and ask for money to replace the clothes, but you cannot ask the judge for an order for the dry cleaner to repair your clothes. This would be called injunctive relief.
Are Appeals Allowed?
Yes, but only if the amount in controversy is in excess of $250. Knox County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 1 courthouses in Knox County.
Types of 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. 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.
Who is the judge in a Small Claims Court case?
A Justice of the Peace for Knox County hears small claims court cases for Knox County.
What is the trial like?
Unlike regular civil trials, small claims court rules do not follow the Rules of Evidence. There are no rules of evidence. 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. 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.
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).
Knox County Court Locations
Countywide Courthouse in the City of Benjamin
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 76 Benjamin, TX 79505-0076