A Justice of the Peace for Wharton County hears small claims court cases for Wharton County.
Are there appeals in small claims court?
Appeals are allowed if the amount of the award exceeds $250.00.
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. 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. Trials generally are pretty short (15-20 minutes). If a jury trial is required, the trial could last a few hours.
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). 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. This type of relief would be injunctive relief.
Small Claims Court Clerk
The clerk at the courthouse can be an excellent resource for your case. This will ensure the courthouse is open and someone is available to assist with the filing of your claim. Remember, the court clerk is trained to assist with procedural questions, but is not able to give legal advice. Small Claims Court cases for Wharton are heard in 4 LOCATIONS throughout Wharton County.
Do I need A Lawyer?
You are allowed to hire an attorney (Texas Government Code Section 28.003), however, most small claims court parties choose to represent themselves. The reasoning behind this is because the amount is $10,000 or less, hiring an attorney becomes cost prohibitive. However, you are allowed to retain one if you choose.
Small Claims Court Case Types
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. 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 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).
Wharton County Court Locations
The precinct map for Wharton County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Courthouse in the City of Wharton
This courthouse is located at:1017 N Alabama Rd Wharton, TX 77488-4203
Precinct 2 Courthouse in the City of East Bernard
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 780 East Bernard, TX 77435-0780
Precinct 3 Courthouse in the City of Louise
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 184 Louise, TX 77455-0184
Precinct 4 Courthouse in the City of El Campo
This courthouse is located at:605 E Calhoun St El Campo, TX 77437