Small Claims Jurisdiction is $10,000.00 or less. Small Claims is ONLY for recovery of money, the court cannot order a person to do some act or try to refrain from doing some act. Small Claims are courts in which citizens can settle money disputes in a speedy, informal setting.
WHO YOU MAY SUE:
1) An Individual person; or
2) An Individual owner doing business (d.b.a.) as a company; or
3) A Corporation (Incorporated Business)
1) If you are suing an individual be sure you spell the name fully and correctly and have the exact address. If you know of more than one good address where the defendant can be located (i.e.: home address, work address, etc.), be sure and list all known addresses on the form.
2) If you are suing a sole proprietorship (for example, John Doe owns ABC Auto Parts and does business under the assumed name of ABC Auto Parts) sue: John Doe individually and doing business as (d.b.a.) ABC Auto Parts. If you do not happen to know the owner of the sole proprietorship, you may contact the Assumed Names Dept. (830) 997-6515 in the Gillespie County Clerk’s office for more information.
3) If you are suing a Corporation: (for example, ABC Auto Parts is in reality ABC Auto Parts, Inc., a Texas Corporation) you must sue the Corporation and serve its registered agent (the individual who is able to accept service on behalf of the corporation). The name and address of a corporation’s registered agent can be obtained by calling the office of the Secretary of State for the State of Texas in Austin, Texas at (512) 463-5701 or by doing a Corporation Search at http://ecpa.cpa.state.tx.us/coa/Index.html . The address on the Statement of Claim for the defendant must be the address of the person being served.
1) Plaintiff (person filing the suit) pays filing fees at the time of filing the original petition. Filing fees are $46.00 and the service of citation fee ($11.89 for service by Certified Mail/Restricted Delivery OR $65.00 for personal service by the Constable in Gillespie County, for personal service outside Gillespie County, ask the Clerk for the proper amount); to have a jury trial, pay an additional $22.00 jury fee. (All of the costs may be recovered in the judgment if the Plaintiff wins the suit.).
2) The Court prepares a citation addressed to the defendant. The citation is then served to the Defendant by certified mail or personally by Constable. The citation will instruct the defendant to appear before the Court to file a written answer to the lawsuit at 10:00am on the Monday following the expiration of 10 days from the date of service. This will not be the trial date.
TRIAL BY JUDGE:
On the court date, the Judge conducts a trial of the case and decides who won and for what amount. The court then prepares a judgment for the Judge to sign. (Note: prepaid filing fees (court costs) and all future court costs are usually automatically awarded into the court’s standard judgment).
Either party may appeal the judgment by filing a Notice of Appeal, Appeal Surety Bond with the court, and pay the required filing fees of County Court and a $10 transcript fee, within (21) twenty-one days from the date of judgment. If no appeal is filed within (21) twenty-one days, the judgment becomes final.
AFTER THE JUDGMENT:
Should you receive a judgment, this Court does not collect the judgment for you, nor can we force the defendant to pay the judgment. If you receive a judgment against the defendant, this court can issue various instruments to assist you in collecting the judgment.
a) Abstract of Judgment, at an additional cost of $5.00. The court prepares the Abstract, which the winning party must file with the County Clerk (Official Public Records Dept.). When properly filed, an Abstract places a lien against any non-exempt, real property of the losing party for a period of (10) ten years and is renewable. The Abstract is only good in the county or counties where recorded. ABSTRACT OF JUDGMENT CAN BE REQUESTED AFTER (21) TWENTY-ONE DAYS AFTER JUDGMENT. When requesting an Abstract of Judgment, you should, whenever possible, provide the court with the losing party’s date of birth, Texas Drivers License number, current address and amount, if any, that has already been collected on the Judgment.
b) Writ of Execution. After (30) thirty full days since judgment, the party who was awarded the judgment can request a Writ of Execution, for an additional cost, to enforce the judgment. The Constable serves the Writ on the party who lost and makes oral demand for payment. If the constable receives no payment, and there is no non-exempt property to levy on, the Writ is returned to the court. THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT JUDGMENT WILL BE COLLECTED BY A WRIT OF EXECUTION.
THESE INSTRUCTIONS ARE A BROAD INTERPRETATION OF THE LAWS THAT APPLY TO THE COURT. ANY LEGAL QUESTIONS OR LEGAL INTERPRETATION SHOULD BE BASED UPON YOUR OWN RESEARCH OF THE MATTER OR THE ADVICE OF YOUR ATTORNEY.
If you have procedural questions, please call and we will try to assist you, although THIS COURT MAY NOT ANSWER ANY LEGAL QUESTIONS.