Do I need to 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).
Limit (or Jurisdiction) of Small Claims Court
A plaintiff cannot demand more than $10,000 in their action. (Texas Government Code 28.093). Another restriction of small claims court is that a plaintiff can only seek monetary relief (an award of money). 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 type of relief would be injunctive relief.
Types of Small Claims Cases
A variety of cases are handled 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.
Judges for Small Claims Court Cases in Orange County
Small claims cases in Orange County are heard in front of the justice of the peace for Orange County.
What is the trial like?
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. Orange County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 4 courthouses in Orange County.
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).
Orange 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 Orange County. We recommend calling the clerk’s office to ensure the courthouse is open. Also, while the clerk can answer questions about procedures, the clerk cannot give legal advice.
Can I appeal my case?
Appeals are allowed if the amount of the award exceeds $250.00.
Orange County Court Locations
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 Orange
This courthouse is located at:2524 Hwy 87 S Orange, TX 77630
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Vidor
This courthouse is located at:190 Camp St Vidor, TX 77662