How are trials conducted?
Small claims court trials are very informal compared to a regular civil trial. In fact, the judge in small claims court is charged with developing facts of the case and may question or summon witnesses. Furthermore, the judge is allowed and often ask questions of witnesses and parties to help understand the facts of a case. Trials generally are pretty short (15-20 minutes). A jury trial will likely last longer, probably a few hours.
Judges for Small Claims Court Cases in Panola County
A Justice of the Peace for Panola County hears small claims court cases for Panola County.
Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
You cannot demand or ask for more than $10,000 in a small claims court case. (Government Code 28.093). Small claims parties can only recover money. You cannot seek injunctive relief. For example, if you pay a painter $1,000 to paint your house and the painter does not even begin, you cannot ask the court to issue an order for the painter to paint your house. This type of relief would be injunctive relief.
Are Appeals Allowed?
A party can appeal a ruling if the amount of the judge’s award is in excess of $250.00.
Clerk’s Role in Small Claims Court Actions
We recommend contacting the Panola 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.
Can I file my small claims case in Panola 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).
Do I need A Lawyer?
In Texas, small claims parties generally represent themselves without an attorney. This is largely because the amount at issue in the case is not large enough to justify the hiring of an attorney. You are not required to have an attorney, but you are allowed one. (Government Code 28.003). Small Claims actions are heard in 2 courthouses throughout Panola County.
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.
Panola County Court Locations
The precinct map for Panola County can be found here.
Precinct 1 & 4 Courthouse in the City of Carthage
This courthouse is located at:110 S Sycamore St, Rm 105 Carthage, TX 75633-2546
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 1 & 4. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (903)693-0375.
Precinct 2 & 3 Courthouse in the City of Carthage
This courthouse is located at:110 S Sycamore St, Rm 103 Carthage, TX 75633-2547