What can I expect at trial?
Unlike regular civil trials, small claims court rules do not follow the Rules of Evidence. This allows the trials to be conducted in a much more informal fashion. 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. However, if a party wishes for a jury trial, it will likely last a few hours.
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).
The justice of the peace for Orange County presides over small claims court actions for Orange County.
Orange County Court Clerk
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.
Are Appeals Allowed?
Yes, but only if the amount in controversy is in excess of $250. Small Claims Court cases for Orange are heard in 4 LOCATIONS throughout Orange County.
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. 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.
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).
Types of Small Claims Cases
Most cases for the recovery of money can be heard in small claims court. Cases include damages from an automobile accident, a security deposit from a landlord, or breach of a contract. 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.
Orange County Court Locations
The precinct map for Orange County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Orange
This courthouse is located at:801 W Division Orange, TX 77630-6353
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Orange
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 2219 Orange, TX 77631-2219
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Bridge City
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 1400 Bridge City, TX 77611-1400
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Vidor
This courthouse is located at:190 Camp St Vidor, TX 77662