Small Claims Court cases for Panola are heard in 2 LOCATIONS throughout Panola County.
Do I need A Lawyer?
Small claims court litigants in Texas normally 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).
Small Claims Court Case Types
A variety of cases are handled 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.
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).
Small Claims 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.
Who is the judge in a Small Claims Court case?
The justice of the peace for Panola County presides over small claims court actions for Panola County.
Are Appeals Allowed?
Yes, but only if the amount in controversy is in excess of $250.
Limit (or Jurisdiction) of Small Claims Court
A plaintiff cannot demand more than $10,000 in their action. (Texas Government Code 28.093). Another restriction of small claims court is that a plaintiff can only seek monetary relief (an award of money). 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. This would be called injunctive relief.
What can I expect at trial?
Unlike regular civil trials, small claims court rules do not follow the Rules of Evidence. There are no rules of evidence. 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. It will likely be pretty quick. A jury trial will likely last longer, probably a few hours.
Panola County Court Locations
Precinct 1 & 4 Courthouse in the City of Carthage
This courthouse is located at:110 S Sycamore St, Rm 105 Carthage, TX 75633-2546
Precinct 2 & 3 Courthouse in the City of Carthage
This courthouse is located at:110 S Sycamore St, Rm 103 Carthage, TX 75633-2547