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 Court Jurisdiction
A plaintiff cannot demand more than $10,000 in their action. (Texas 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. 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 would be called injunctive relief.
Who is the judge in a Small Claims Court case?
Small claims cases in Liberty County are heard in front of the justice of the peace for Liberty County.
What can I expect at trial?
The trial is relatively informal compared to a normal trial. There are no rules of evidence. Generally the judge will ask questions to help develop the facts and understand the context and circumstances surrounding the case. It will likely be pretty quick. A jury trial will likely last longer, probably a few hours.
Can I appeal my case?
Yes, but only if the amount in controversy is in excess of $250.
Types of Small Claims Cases
A variety of cases are handled in small claims court. From a security deposit on a rental to a motor vehicle 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 Liberty are heard in 6 LOCATIONS throughout Liberty County.
Liberty County Court Clerk
The clerk is often the first person small claims court litigants interact with in their case. The clerk is an excellent resource for the procedure for small claims court cases in Texas but also any procedures specific to that County or courthouse. It is recommended that you contact the clerk’s office to ensure the courthouse is open during the hours you want to visit. Also, while the clerk can answer questions about procedures, the clerk cannot give legal advice.
Can I file my small claims case in Liberty County?
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).
Liberty County Court Locations
The precinct map for Liberty County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Liberty
This courthouse is located at:2103 Cos St Liberty, TX 77575
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Raywood
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 426 Raywood, TX 77582
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 2 Place 1. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (936)587-4010.
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Hardin
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 796 Hardin, TX 77561
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 3 Place 1. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (936)298-9407.
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Dayton
This courthouse is located at:1300 West Clayton St Dayton, TX 77535-2469
Precinct 5 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Cleveland
This courthouse is located at:22350 Hwy 321 Cleveland, TX 77327
Precinct 6 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Cleveland
This courthouse is located at:304 Campbell St Cleveland, TX 77327