Who is the judge in a Small Claims Court case?
The justice of the peace for Smith County presides over small claims court actions for Smith County.
Can I file my case in small claims court?
You cannot demand or ask for more than $10,000 in a small claims court case. (Government Code 28.093). Additionally, a small claims court plaintiff can only ask the court for monetary relief. You cannot seek injunctive 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.
What can I expect at trial?
Small claims court trials are very informal compared to a regular civil trial. In fact, the judge in small claims court is charged with developing facts of the case and may question or summon witnesses. Furthermore, the judge is allowed and often ask questions of witnesses and parties to help understand the facts of a case. Trials generally are pretty short (15-20 minutes). However, if a party wishes for a jury trial, it will likely last a few hours. Smith County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 5 courthouses in Smith County.
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. Nevertheless, you are allowed to retain one if you desire. (Texas Government Code Section 28.003).
Where do I file my small claims court case?
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).
Smith County Court Clerk
We recommend contacting the Smith County court clerk before proceeding down to the courthouse to file your action. 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. Also, while the clerk can answer questions about procedures, the clerk cannot give legal advice.
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.
Types of Small Claims Cases
Most cases for the recovery of money can be heard in small claims court. Cases include damages from an automobile accident, a security deposit from a landlord, or breach of a contract. 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.
Smith County Court Locations
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Tyler
This courthouse is located at:
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.