Small Claims Form |
Justice Court Form |
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) affidavit |
Small Claims filing fee: $91.00 ($31.00 Court Cost, $60.00 service fee in Denton County) A Small Claims Court Suit is a civil suit for money damages only (you may not recover personal property).
filing fee: $91.00 ($31.00 Court Cost, $60.00 service fee in Denton
County) A Justice Court Suit is a civil suit for money damages, and
foreclosures of mortgages and enforce liens on personal property.
The amount of
controversy must not exceed $10,000, interest included. You may not
diminish the amount of your claim in order to qualify for the jurisdiction
limits of this Court. For example, if your evidence shows that you
sustained $13,000 in damages, you cannot tell the Court that you are
“willing to take $10,000.” This will result in your claim being
dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
In all small
claim/justice suits, the defendant (s) has the right to be sued in the
county and precinct in which they reside. The only exception is if
the work is done in the precinct where it is filed.
PARTIES TO THE SUIT
AFTER SUIT IS FILED
SERVICE OF CITIATION
After you have
filed your Petition, the court will issue and forward the Citation (s) to
the Constable’s office you have indicated for service on the Defendant
(s). Although the Citation will leave the Court promptly, it can
take several weeks or more for the Citation to be personally served.
Once the Citation has been served on
the Defendant, the Defendant must file a written Answer to the suit on or
before the Monday following the expiration of ten (10) days from the date
of service. If he/she fails to do so – a Small Claims case will be
set for a Hearing – a Justice Court case will be set for a default
hearing. If the Defendant fails to appear, you will be asked to
briefly state the facts of your case and present written itemization of
your damages. You must be prepared to present a written itemization
of your damages. The Court will not “figure out” your
damages for you.
In Small Claims Court
or Justice Court, a party may
represent himself regardless if he is part of a proprietorship or
corporation. Please be aware that the Texas Rule of
Evidence and Texas Rules of Civil Procedure are in
effect in Justice Court suits, but not in Small Claims
Court suits. Based upon this, one party may find
themselves at somewhat of a disadvantage if there is counsel on one side
and not the other.
If there are
witnesses, who will not come to Court voluntarily, you may come to Court
and ask for a Subpoena to be prepared and served to secure their presence
in Court. This should be done in a timely manner prior to trial to allow
for service. Subpoenas may be obtained at any time prior to trial, and we
offer no guarantees that service will be obtained. Successful service of
witness subpoenas is your responsibility.
Defendant or any other witness has documentation that you do not have that
is necessary to prove your case, you may have the person who has control
of the evidence subpoenaed to bring the documentation to Court. The items
you want must be listed and attached to the Subpoena.
There are other
means of discovering information prior to trial that can be explained to
you by an attorney.
If you desire a trial by jury, you must pay a jury fee of $5.00 at least two working days (48 hours) prior to trial. Requests for a jury trial ordinarily require the trial date to be reset. If you have a jury trial, you can expect the actual trial to last several hours longer than a bench trial. (A bench trial is where the case is heard by the Judge)
If the Defendant files an Answer, your case should be set for trial within approximately four weeks after the Answer is received by the Court, approximately 75 days for Justice Court suits unless discovery is involved. You will receive written notice of your Court date. If you change your address or phone number, notify the Court immediately. Appear in Court on the date and time indicated in your notice. Be sure to bring all of your documents that you may need to present at trial.
MOTIONS FOR CONTINUANCE
All motions for
continuance (resetting of the Court date) must be in writing and received
by the Court no later than 8 working days prior to your Court date. Weekends
are not included. If less than eight days both parties must agree.
In Small Claims Court, each party will be entitled to reset on request "only for good cause shown" (Gov’t Code 28.033). This Court permits one reset for good cause for each party.
APPEAL AFTER JUDGEMENT
TIME TO APPEAL
Either party has
ten (10) days in which to appeal. You must file an Appeal Bond with
the Court on or before 4:30 p.m. on the 10th day after the judgement date.
Do not wait until the last minute to process your Appeal. There is a $16.00 filing fee.
There is a $16.00 filing fee.
The Court will
then prepare a transcript of the pleading on file in your case and send it
to the County Probate Court at Law. All Court contact from this
point on will be with the Denton County Probate Court (940) 565-8519.
COLLECTION OF JUDGEMENT
If you receive a
Judgement against the Defendant, and the Defendant does not file a Motion
for New Trial within five (5) days, or does not Appeal, or pay the
Judgement within ten (10) days, there are various remedies available to
you in attempting to collect the Judgement due to you. The Justice Court
does not assist you in collecting Judgements.
ABSTRACT OF JUDGEMENT
You may obtain
an Abstract of Judgement any time after the 10th day from the date of
Judgement from the Court for $5.00 per Abstract. The purpose for
filing an Abstract of Judgement is to put a lien against any real property
in the defendant’s name. If the defendant sells any real property
within ten years from the date of judgement, the amount of judgement must
be paid plus interest.
The Abstract may
be filed in the office of the County Clerk in any County where you think
the Judgement Debtor may own property. The following are nearby County
There is a $11.00 recording fee for each county that an abstract is filed in. If there is a title search on any real property owned by the Judgment Debtor within the next ten (10) years, your Judgment will show up as a lien against the property. If the debt becomes satisfied you should provide the Judgment Debtor with a Release of Lien for the Judgment Debtor to file in the County Clerk’s office where you have filed the Abstract in order to remove the cloud on any title. The cost for filing a Release of Judgment Lien is $15.00 first page, $4.00 each additional page, and is solely the Judgment Debtor’s responsibility to file this Release of Lien.
WRIT OF EXECUTION
If the Defendant
does not Appeal, you may obtain a Writ of Execution any time after the
30th day from the date of Judgement. A Writ allows a Sheriff or Constable
to try and seize certain non-exempt property from the Defendant. If
property is seized, an auction is held and the proceeds from the sale
satisfy the Judgement. The cost for this Writ is $155.00 in Denton County
($5.00 to file and $150.00 for service). Before you purchase a Writ of
Execution, you may want to contact the Constable in that County and
discuss with them whether or not your Defendant has property that is
subject to execution. You can contact Denton County Constable Precinct 3,
Jerry Raburn at (972) 434-4770.
WRIT OF GARNISHMENT
A Writ of Garnishment is a new lawsuit and is a complicated procedure for which it is recommended you seek an attorney’s advice. The cost for this Writ is $121.00 in Denton County ($31.00 to file + $5.00 writ fee + $85.00 for service).
will be happy to answer any procedural questions; however; we cannot
answer legal questions.
We will be happy to answer any procedural questions; however; we cannot answer legal questions.