Can I hire an attorney?
In Texas, small claims parties generally represent themselves without an attorney. This is largely because the amount at issue in the case is not large enough to justify the hiring of an attorney. You are not required to have an attorney, but you are allowed one. (Government Code 28.003).
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 Venue
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).
How are trials conducted?
Unlike regular civil trials, small claims court rules do not follow the Rules of Evidence. There are no rules of evidence. Furthermore, the judge is allowed and often ask questions of witnesses and parties to help understand the facts of a case. It will likely be pretty quick. A jury trial will likely last longer, probably a few hours.
Are Appeals Allowed?
Yes, but only if the amount in controversy is in excess of $250. Small Claims actions are heard in 2 courthouses throughout Wilbarger County.
Types of Cases
Most cases for the recovery of money can be heard in small claims court. This could be an action to get your security deposit back, or an action to recover money for damage done to your vehicle after a car 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.
Limit (or Jurisdiction) of 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. You are unable to seek injunctive or equitable relief. Say your landscaper breaks a sprinkler head. You can ask the court for money to replace the sprinkler head, but you cannot ask the court for an order requiring the landscaper to physically replace the sprinkler head. This would be called injunctive relief.
Small claims cases in Wilbarger County are heard in front of the justice of the peace for Wilbarger County.
Wilbarger County Court Locations
The precinct map for Wilbarger County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Vernon
This courthouse is located at:1700 Wilbarger St, Rm 25 Vernon, TX 76384-4747
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Vernon
This courthouse is located at:1700 Wilbarger St, Rm 22 Vernon, TX 76384-4747
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 2 Place 1. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (940)553-2307.