Do I need A Lawyer?
You are allowed to hire an attorney (Texas Government Code Section 28.003), however, most small claims court parties choose to represent themselves. The reasoning behind this is because the amount is $10,000 or less, hiring an attorney becomes cost prohibitive. You are not required to have an attorney, but you are allowed one. (Government Code 28.003).
Judges for Small Claims Court Cases in San Patricio County
The justice of the peace for San Patricio County presides over small claims court actions for San Patricio County.
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 Court Jurisdiction
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, 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 would be called injunctive relief.
Small Claims Court Case Types
A variety of cases are handled in small claims court. Cases include damages from an automobile accident, a security deposit from a landlord, or breach of a contract. 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.
What is the trial like?
Small claims court trials are very informal compared to a regular civil 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. It will likely be pretty quick. A jury trial will likely last longer, probably a few hours.
Can I appeal my case?
Yes, but only if the amount in controversy is in excess of $250.
Clerk’s Role in Small Claims Court Actions
The clerk is often the first person small claims court litigants interact with in their case. 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. 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. San Patricio County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 6 courthouses in San Patricio County.
San Patricio County Court Locations
Precinct 1 Courthouse in the City of Sinton
This courthouse is located at:300 N Rachal Ave Sinton, TX 78387-2602
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 1. The phone number for the court is (361)364-9620. And you can email the court by clicking here.
Precinct 2 Courthouse in the City of Odem
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 73 Odem, TX 78370-0073
Precinct 4 Courthouse in the City of Portland
This courthouse is located at:900 Austin St Portland, TX 78374
Precinct 5 Courthouse in the City of Mathis
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 640 Mathis, TX 78368
Precinct 6 Courthouse in the City of Aransas Pass
This courthouse is located at:225 W Wheeler, Ste A Aransas Pass, TX 78336-2606
Precinct 8 Courthouse in the City of Taft
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 6 Taft, TX 78390