Are there appeals in small claims court?
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 knowledgeable at all of the procedures and will be able to inform you of any specific local procedures for Smith County. We recommend calling the clerk’s office to ensure the courthouse is open. Remember, the court clerk is trained to assist with procedural questions, but is not able to give legal advice.
Can I file my small claims case in Smith County?
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).
Can I hire an attorney?
In Texas, small claims parties generally represent themselves without an attorney. This is because cases involving $10,000 or less usually do not justify the cost of an attorney. You are not required to have an attorney, but you are allowed one. (Government Code 28.003). Smith County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 5 courthouses in Smith County.
Small claims cases in Smith County are heard in front of the justice of the peace for Smith County.
Can I file my case in small claims court?
The plaintiff’s demand for money cannot exceed $10,000. (Texas Government Code 28.093). Additionally, a small claims court plaintiff can only ask the court for monetary relief. 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. You could only ask the court for an award of money.
What can I expect at trial?
Unlike regular civil trials, small claims court rules do not follow the Rules of Evidence. In fact, the judge in small claims court is charged with developing facts of the case and may question or summon witnesses. 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. However, if a party wishes for a jury trial, it will likely last a few hours.
Types of Small Claims Cases
Small claims courts handle a wide variety of cases. From a security deposit on a rental to a motor vehicle 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.
Smith County Court Locations
The precinct map for Smith County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Tyler
This courthouse is located at:106 E Elm Tyler, TX 75702-7311
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Tyler
This courthouse is located at:15405 Hwy 155 S Tyler, TX 75703-7724
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Troup
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 573 Troup, TX 75789-0573
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Winona
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 62 Winona, TX 75792-0062
Precinct 5 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Lindale
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 1075 Lindale, TX 75771-1075
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 5 Place 1. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (903)590-4890.