Are there appeals in small claims court?
Appeals are allowed if the amount of the award exceeds $250.00.
Can I hire an attorney?
In Texas, small claims parties generally 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 Case Types
Small claims courts handle a wide variety of cases. 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.
How are trials conducted?
The trial is relatively informal compared to a normal trial. This allows the trials to be conducted in a much more informal fashion. 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.
Where do I file my small claims court case?
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). Zapata County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 4 courthouses in Zapata County.
Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
You cannot demand or ask for more than $10,000 in a small claims court case. (Government Code 28.093). Small claims parties can only recover money. 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 type of relief would be injunctive relief.
Judges for Small Claims Court Cases in Zapata County
Small claims cases in Zapata County are heard in front of the justice of the peace for Zapata County.
Clerk’s Role in Small Claims Court Actions
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. Remember, the court clerk is trained to assist with procedural questions, but is not able to give legal advice.
Zapata County Court Locations
The precinct map for Zapata County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Zapata
This courthouse is located at:200 E 7th Ave, Ste 205A Zapata, TX 78076-2310
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of San Ygnacio
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 29 San Ygnacio, TX 78067-0029
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 2 Place 1. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (956)765-5333.
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Zapata
This courthouse is located at:200 E 7th Ave, Ste 205 Zapata, TX 78076-2310
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Zapata
This courthouse is located at:2310 Stop 23A Zapata, TX 78076-2310
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 4 Place 1. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (956)765-6655.