Types of Small Claims Cases
A variety of cases are handled in small claims court. From a security deposit on a rental to a motor vehicle accident. 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.
What is the trial like?
Unlike regular civil trials, small claims court rules do not follow the Rules of Evidence. There are no rules of evidence. 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. If a jury trial is required, the trial could last a few hours.
Judges for Small Claims Court Cases in Smith County
A Justice of the Peace for Smith County hears small claims court cases for Smith County.
Do I need to hire an Attorney?
In Texas, small claims parties generally represent themselves without an attorney. This is largely because the amount at issue in the case is not large enough to justify the hiring of an attorney. You are not required to have an attorney, but you are allowed one. (Government Code 28.003).
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 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. Also, while the clerk can answer questions about procedures, the clerk cannot give legal advice. Smith County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 5 courthouses in Smith County.
Can I file my case in small claims court?
A plaintiff cannot demand more than $10,000 in their action. (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. 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. This type of relief would be injunctive relief.
Can I file my small claims case in Smith County?
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).
Are Appeals Allowed?
Yes, but only if the amount in controversy is in excess of $250.
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:200 E Ferguson, Ste 501 Tyler, TX 75702
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.