Clerk’s Role in Small Claims Court Actions
We recommend contacting the Trinity 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 Trinity 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 file my small claims case in Trinity 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).
What is the trial like?
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. 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.
Judges for Small Claims Court Cases in Trinity County
Small claims cases in Trinity County are heard in front of the justice of the peace for Trinity County.
Small Claims Court Case Types
A variety of cases are handled in small claims court. 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. Small Claims Court cases for Trinity are heard in 4 LOCATIONS throughout Trinity County.
Limit (or Jurisdiction) of 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. 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. You could only ask the court for an award of money.
Can I hire an attorney?
Small claims court litigants in Texas normally represent themselves without an attorney. This is because cases involving $10,000 or less usually do not justify the cost of an attorney. However, you are allowed to retain one if you choose.
Are Appeals Allowed?
A party can appeal a ruling if the amount of the judge’s award is in excess of $250.00.
Trinity County Court Locations
The precinct map for Trinity County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Groveton
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 1028 Groveton, TX 75845-1028
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Trinity
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 641 Trinity, TX 77862-0641
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Trinity
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 464 Trinity, TX 75862-0464
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Apple Springs
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 18 Apple Springs, TX 75926-0018