Clerk’s Role in Small Claims Court Actions
We recommend contacting the Wharton 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 Wharton County. We recommend calling the clerk’s office to ensure the courthouse is open. 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.
Can I appeal my case?
A party can appeal a ruling if the amount of the judge’s award is in excess of $250.00.
Can I file my small claims case in Wharton 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).
Types of Small Claims Cases
Small claims courts handle a wide variety of cases. Cases include damages from an automobile accident, a security deposit from a landlord, or breach of a contract. Under Texas law, collections cases and claim assignments cannot be heard in small claims court.
What can I expect at trial?
The trial is relatively informal compared to a normal 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. A small claims court trial is much quicker, often lasting between 15-20 minutes. A jury trial will likely last longer, probably a few hours. Small Claims Court cases for Wharton are heard in 4 LOCATIONS throughout Wharton County.
Do I need A Lawyer?
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.
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, 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. You could only ask the court for an award of money.
Judges for Small Claims Court Cases in Wharton County
Small claims cases in Wharton County are heard in front of the justice of the peace for Wharton County.
Wharton County Court Locations
Precinct 1 Courthouse in the City of Wharton
This courthouse is located at:
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