Do I need to 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).
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. 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.
Who is the judge in a Small Claims Court case?
A Justice of the Peace for Leon County hears small claims court cases for Leon County.
Leon County Court Clerk
The clerk is often the first person small claims court litigants interact with in their case. The clerk is knowledgeable at all of the procedures and will be able to inform you of any specific local procedures for Leon County. We recommend calling the clerk’s office to ensure the courthouse is open. 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.
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. 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. Small Claims Court cases for Leon are heard in 3 LOCATIONS throughout Leon County.
What can I expect at trial?
The trial is relatively informal compared to a normal trial. There are no rules of evidence. 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.
Are there appeals in small claims court?
Appeals are allowed if the amount of the award exceeds $250.00.
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).
Leon County Court Locations
The precinct map for Leon County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Buffalo
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 609 Buffalo, TX 75831
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Centerville
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 69 Centerville, TX 75833-0069
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Hilltop Lakes
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 1607 Hilltop Lakes, TX 77871-1607