Can I file my case in 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 would be called injunctive relief.
Small Claims Court Venue
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).
Judges for Small Claims Court Cases in Shelby County
The justice of the peace for Shelby County presides over small claims court actions for Shelby County.
Can I hire an attorney?
Small claims court litigants in Texas normally represent themselves without an attorney. The reasoning behind this is because the amount is $10,000 or less, hiring an attorney becomes cost prohibitive. Nevertheless, you are allowed to retain one if you desire. (Texas Government Code Section 28.003).
What can I expect at trial?
Unlike regular civil trials, small claims court rules do not follow the Rules of Evidence. This allows the trials to be conducted in a much more informal fashion. Generally the judge will ask questions to help develop the facts and understand the context and circumstances surrounding the case. It will likely be pretty quick. However, if a party wishes for a jury trial, it will likely last a few hours.
Clerk’s Role in Small Claims Court Actions
The clerk at the courthouse can be an excellent resource for your 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.
Types of Small Claims Cases
Most cases for the recovery of money can be heard in small claims court. From a security deposit on a rental to a motor vehicle accident. Under Texas law, collections cases and claim assignments cannot be heard in small claims court.
Are there appeals in small claims court?
Appeals are allowed if the amount of the award exceeds $250.00. Shelby County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 5 courthouses in Shelby County.
Shelby County Court Locations
The precinct map for Shelby County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Center
This courthouse is located at:518 Nacogdoches St Center, TX 75935-3954
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 1 Place 1. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (936)598-3735.
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Shelbyville
This courthouse is located at:2974 FM 3172 Shelbyville, TX 75973
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 2 Place 1. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (936)368-2463.
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Joaquin
This courthouse is located at:709 CR 3286 Joaquin, TX 75954
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 3 Place 1. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (936)269-3527.
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Tenaha
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 121 Tenaha, TX 75974-0121
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 4 Place 1. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (936)248-4510.
Precinct 5 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Timpson
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 285 Timpson, TX 75975-0285