Can I hire an attorney?
Small claims court litigants in Texas normally 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. However, you are allowed to retain one if you choose.
Small Claims Court Venue
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). Small Claims actions are heard in 4 courthouses throughout Polk County.
Judges for Small Claims Court Cases in Polk County
A Justice of the Peace for Polk County hears small claims court cases for Polk County.
Small Claims Court Case Types
Small claims courts handle a wide variety of cases. 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 Clerk
The clerk at the courthouse can be an excellent resource for your 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.
Can I file my case in small claims court?
A plaintiff cannot demand more than $10,000 in their action. (Texas Government Code 28.093). Small claims parties can only recover 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.
Are there appeals in small claims court?
A party can appeal a ruling if the amount of the judge’s award is in excess of $250.00.
What is the trial like?
Small claims court trials are very informal compared to a regular civil 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. Trials generally are pretty short (15-20 minutes). If a jury trial is required, the trial could last a few hours.
Polk County Court Locations
The precinct map for Polk County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Livingston
This courthouse is located at:101 W Mill St, #152 Livingston, TX 77351-3223
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Onalaska
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 1417 Onalaska, TX 77360-1417
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Corrigan
This courthouse is located at:201 W Ben Franklin Corrigan, TX 75939
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Livingston
This courthouse is located at:602 E Church St, Ste 135 Livingston, TX 77351