Small Claims actions are heard in 4 courthouses throughout Polk County.
Types of Cases
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. However, small claims court cannot handle assignments of claims (where one person transfers their interest in an action to another), a divorce proceedings, and cases filed by collection agencies or agents.
Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
A plaintiff cannot demand more than $10,000 in their action. (Texas Government Code 28.093). Small claims parties can only recover money. You are unable to seek injunctive or equitable 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.
Small Claims Court Venue
In order to follow correct procedure, a small claims case needs to be filed in the proper county and precinct. In Texas, the action is filed in the County and Precinct where the defendants reside or where a contract was to be performed. (Government Code Section 28.011).
Can I appeal my case?
A party can appeal a ruling if the amount of the judge’s award is in excess of $250.00.
Do I need to hire an Attorney?
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).
Who is the judge in a Small Claims Court case?
Small claims cases in Polk County are heard in front of the justice of the peace for Polk County.
Polk County Court Clerk
We recommend contacting the Polk County court clerk before proceeding down to the courthouse to file your action. 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.
What is the trial like?
Small claims court trials are very informal compared to a regular civil trial. 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. A jury trial will likely last longer, probably a few hours.
Polk County Court Locations
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