Are Appeals Allowed?
Yes, but only if the amount in controversy is in excess of $250.
Types of Cases
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.
Can I file my small claims case in Trinity County?
In order to follow correct procedure, a small claims case needs to be filed in the proper county and precinct. In Texas, the action is filed in the County and Precinct where the defendants reside or where a contract was to be performed. (Government Code Section 28.011).
Do I need to 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. You are not required to have an attorney, but you are allowed one. (Government Code 28.003).
A Justice of the Peace for Trinity County hears small claims court cases for Trinity County. Trinity County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 4 courthouses in Trinity County.
What can I expect at trial?
The trial is relatively informal compared to a normal trial. 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. However, if a party wishes for a jury trial, it will likely last a few hours.
Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
The plaintiff’s demand for money cannot exceed $10,000. (Texas Government Code 28.093). Small claims parties can only recover money. The court has no authority to issue an injunctive or equitable award. 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 type of relief would be injunctive relief.
Small Claims Court Clerk
The clerk is often the first person small claims court litigants interact with in their case. This will ensure the courthouse is open and someone is available to assist with the filing of your claim. 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.
Trinity County Court Locations
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Groveton
This courthouse is located at:
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Trinity
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 641 Trinity, TX 75862-0641
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