Can I hire an attorney?
In Texas, small claims parties generally 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).
Small claims cases in Val Verde County are heard in front of the justice of the peace for Val Verde County. Small Claims Court cases for Val Verde are heard in 4 LOCATIONS throughout Val Verde County.
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. 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.
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
We recommend contacting the Val Verde 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. 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.
Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
A plaintiff cannot demand more than $10,000 in their action. (Texas 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. You could only ask the court for an award of money.
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.
Small Claims Court Venue
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).
Val Verde County Court Locations
The precinct map for Val Verde County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Del Rio
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 1144 Del Rio, TX 78841
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Del Rio
This courthouse is located at:309 Mills St, 2nd Fl, Ste A Del Rio, TX 78840
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Del Rio
This courthouse is located at:309 Mills St, Ste B Del Rio, TX 78840
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Del Rio
This courthouse is located at:309 Mills St, 2nd Fl, Ste C Del Rio, TX 78840-5165