Where do I file my small claims court case?
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).
Clerk’s Role in Small Claims Court Actions
We recommend contacting the Reagan 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.
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. A small claims court trial is much quicker, often lasting between 15-20 minutes. However, if a party wishes for a jury trial, it will likely last a few hours.
Can I hire an attorney?
You are allowed to hire an attorney (Texas Government Code Section 28.003), however, most small claims court parties choose to represent themselves. This is because cases involving $10,000 or less usually do not justify the cost of an attorney. However, you are allowed to retain one if you choose.
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. Small Claims actions are heard in 1 courthouses throughout Reagan County.
Limit (or Jurisdiction) of Small Claims Court
The plaintiff’s demand for money cannot exceed $10,000. (Texas Government Code 28.093). Another restriction of small claims court is that a plaintiff can only seek monetary relief (an award of money). You are unable to seek injunctive or equitable relief. For example, you could sue a dry cleaner for ruining your clothes and ask for money to replace the clothes, but you cannot ask the judge for an order for the dry cleaner to repair your clothes. This type of relief would be injunctive relief.
The justice of the peace for Reagan County presides over small claims court actions for Reagan County.
Types of Small Claims Cases
Most cases for the recovery of money can be heard 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.
Reagan County Court Locations
Countywide Courthouse in the City of Big Lake
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 100 Big Lake, TX 76932
This courthouse handles cases for Countywide. The phone number for the court is (325)884-3482. And you can email the court by clicking here.