Can I appeal my case?
Yes, but only if the amount in controversy is in excess of $250.
Small Claims Court Case Types
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. 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 cases for Wood are heard in 4 LOCATIONS throughout Wood County.
Who is the judge in a Small Claims Court case?
A Justice of the Peace for Wood County hears small claims court cases for Wood County.
What is the trial like?
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. Generally the judge will ask questions to help develop the facts and understand the context and circumstances surrounding the case. Trials generally are pretty short (15-20 minutes). However, if a party wishes for a jury trial, it will likely last a few hours.
Limit (or Jurisdiction) of Small Claims Court
A plaintiff cannot demand more than $10,000 in their action. (Texas Government Code 28.093). Small claims parties can only recover money. You cannot seek injunctive 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 type of relief would be injunctive relief.
Wood County Court Clerk
The clerk is often the first person small claims court litigants interact with in their case. 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. Also, while the clerk can answer questions about procedures, the clerk cannot give legal advice.
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. Nevertheless, you are allowed to retain one if you desire. (Texas Government Code Section 28.003).
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).
Wood County Court Locations
Precinct 1 Courthouse in the City of Quitman
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 172 Quitman, TX 75783-0172
Precinct 2 Courthouse in the City of Mineola
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 325 Mineola, TX 75773-0325
Precinct 3 Courthouse in the City of Hawkins
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 470 Hawkins, TX 75765-0470
Precinct 4 Courthouse in the City of Winnsboro
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 134 Winnsboro, TX 75494-0134
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 4. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (903)342-3079.