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. Also, while the clerk can answer questions about procedures, the clerk cannot give legal advice. Small Claims actions are heard in 4 courthouses throughout Zapata County.
Do I need to 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. Nevertheless, you are allowed to retain one if you desire. (Texas Government Code Section 28.003).
Small Claims Court Case Types
Most cases for the recovery of money can be heard in small claims court. Cases include damages from an automobile accident, a security deposit from a landlord, or breach of a contract. 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?
Small claims court trials are very informal compared to a regular civil 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. It will likely be pretty quick. However, if a party wishes for a jury trial, it will likely last a few hours.
Who is the judge in a Small Claims Court case?
A Justice of the Peace for Zapata County hears small claims court cases for Zapata County.
Can I file my small claims case in Zapata County?
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).
Are Appeals Allowed?
Yes, but only if the amount in controversy is in excess of $250.
Limit (or Jurisdiction) of Small Claims Court
You cannot demand or ask for more than $10,000 in a small claims court case. (Government Code 28.093). Another restriction of small claims court is that a plaintiff can only seek monetary relief (an award of money). You are unable to seek injunctive or equitable 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 type of relief would be injunctive relief.
Zapata County Court Locations
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Zapata
This courthouse is located at:
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
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.