The amount of debt or damages for which you may sue in Small Claims Court may not exceed the limit of the court, which is $20,000.00. In all civil suits, the defendant has the right to be sued in the county and precinct in which he resides. There are exceptions to this rule.
It is your burden as a plaintiff to sue the defendant(s) in their proper legal capacity, of which there are typically three. They are as follows:
Personally: Where an individual is responsible to you for damages he may have caused you as an individual.
Proprietor or Partnership: A business that is not incorporated, but does have on file with the County Clerk an assumed name e.g. John Smith d.b.a. Greenhouse Supplies. You may also file against the individual and his business, John Smith ind./dba Greenhouse Supplies. To determine whether or not this person has filed an assumed name, you would contact the County Clerk.
Corporation: The business which has allegedly caused you damage is incorporated and therefore it is necessary to know the individual's name who is able to accept service on behalf of the corporation. We also need the individual's address. (The authorized agent for service would be listed with the Secretary of State whose phone number is 1-512-463-5555) e.g. Greenhouse, Inc. Serve: John Smith registered agent. http://sos.state.tx.us/corp/sosda/index.shtml
You are strongly urged to discuss your case with an attorney if you are suing a proprietor, partnership, or corporation. You are responsible for suing the correct party in their correct capacity. Nothing within this section should be construed as legal advice. Court costs in the amount of $54.00 are due at the time of filing (does not include Constable service fee of $80.00 per defendant).
If, as plaintiff, you are in the business of loaning money either primarily (banks, credit unions, savings and loans), or secondarily (credit cards) you are not allowed to file in the Small Claims Court; however, an attorney representing any of the above may file suits on the behalf of the above in the Justice Court. Also, an action in Small Claims Court may not be brought by an assigned claim or collection agency.
Once you have filed the petition stating the facts and circumstances of your suit, a citation will be served to the defendant(s) notifying them of the fact that suit has been filed against them in this court.
The citation will order the defendant to answer this suit on or before the expiration of fifteen days from the receipt of the citation. If defendant(s) fails to do so, you then become eligible for a default judgment up until the time an answer is filed.
If the defendant(s) answers the suit, this court will set your case for Trial and will notify all parties of the setting by mail. Any request for a continuance must be in proper written form and timely filed.
Should you receive judgment, the court does not collect the judgment; however, you may request an Abstract of Judgment and/or Writ of Execution to help you in collection of this judgment.
If you have any other procedural questions, please call our Civil Department. Court personnel are strictly prohibited from answering any legal questions. More information about Abstracts and Writs may be found at the law library or the internet site referred to earlier in this section, or by consulting an attorney.
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- Small Claims Petition [PDF]
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