Do I need A Lawyer?
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. Nevertheless, you are allowed to retain one if you desire. (Texas Government Code Section 28.003).
The justice of the peace for Gonzales County presides over small claims court actions for Gonzales County.
Types of Small Claims Cases
Most cases for the recovery of money can be heard in small claims court. From a security deposit on a rental to a motor vehicle 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.
Small Claims Court Venue
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). Small Claims actions are heard in 3 courthouses throughout Gonzales County.
How are trials conducted?
Unlike regular civil trials, small claims court rules do not follow the Rules of Evidence. 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). However, if a party wishes for a jury trial, it will likely last a few hours.
Clerk’s Role in Small Claims Court Actions
We recommend contacting the Gonzales County court clerk before proceeding down to the courthouse to file your action. 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.
Are Appeals Allowed?
Appeals are allowed if the amount of the award exceeds $250.00.
Can I file my case in small claims court?
You cannot demand or ask for more than $10,000 in a small claims court case. (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 type of relief would be injunctive relief.
Gonzales County Court Locations
Precinct 1 Courthouse in the City of Gonzales
This courthouse is located at:414 St. Joseph St, Ste 202 Gonzales, TX 78629-4069
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Waelder
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 127 Waelder, TX 78959
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Nixon
This courthouse is located at:603 E Central Ave Nixon, TX 78140-0366