Filing the Suit |
After the Suit is Filed |
Appeal after Judgment
of Judgments |
Comparison of Justice Court and Small Claims Court Suits
Small Claim Form |
Justice Court Form |
The Justice Court is here for your benefit and it is our
job to help you in any way possible. We have available several
informational handouts to assist you and there is a great deal of helpful
information on the website
HOWEVER, the Rules of Judicial Ethics prohibit this office:
From giving legal advice.
are advised to seek legal advice from a licensed attorney.
2) From telling either party how to present their case.
Expressing any opinions regarding the law.
employees in this office are Clerks of the Court - they must remain impartial
and cannot discuss the merits of any case. Everyone in this office must
abide by the Rules of Judicial Ethics, please do not ask anyone to violate these
not attempt to contact any Judge by mail, e-mail, phone or in person about any
pending or potential lawsuit. Doing so may result in serious consequences.
Judge Patty Larson
Justice of the Peace ~ Precinct 6
*The information is not all-inclusive, nor is it a substitute for legal advice.
We try to keep information current however the law is constantly changing.
The court does not have liability for any consequences resulting form your
reliance on the information or forms provided. You are advised to seek
legal advice from a licensed attorney.
Justice of the Peace Pct 6 ~ Judge Patty Larson ~ Sandy Jacobs Government
Center ~ 1029 W. Rosemeade Parkway,
Small Claims & Justice Court Suit
mail: 972-434-7100 ~ Fax: 972-434-7101 ~
Please read this packet completely before filing your suit.
procedural instructions are the only information you will receive from this
office. This information is not offered as legal advice. Legal advice can
only be obtained from an attorney. It is not comprehensive-there may
be other remedies and procedures not in this packet. Court Clerks are
trained in procedure only, and cannot give any legal advice.
legal advice you should see professional, licensed legal counsel.
There are two
types of civil cases in Justice
Court: Small Claim Suit and Justice Court Suit.
Some types of cases may be filed in either forum, while others are restricted to
one or the other.
1. A Justice Court Suit is a civil suit for money
damages, possession of real property. The amount in dispute must total
$10,000 or less, interest excluded.
2. A Small Claims Court Suit is a civil suit for
money damages only you may not recover personal property. The
amount in dispute must total $10,000 or less, interest included.
either venue, a party may represent himself regardless of whether he/she is an
individual, proprietorship, or corporation. Parties cannot be represented by
non-attorney agents in either venue. The Texas Rules of Evidence and Texas
Rules of Civil Procedure are in effect in Justice Court suits,
but not Small Claim suits.
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. Jury trials often last several hours
longer than a trial heard by the Judge so plan your schedule accordingly.
DATE FOR TRIAL:
If the Defendant files a written answer the case can be set
for trial. You will receive written notice of your Court date.
Parties who are not represented by an attorney should prepare carefully for
trial. (refer to the Small Claims Hearings Trial Preparation Tool)
Once the Citation has been served the Defendant must file a written
answer to the suit on or before the Monday following the expiration of ten days,
beginning with the date of service. If he/she fails to do so, you will be
notified by the Court to appear for a "Default Hearing." You will be asked
to briefly state the facts of your case and present documentation to
substantiate those damages. You MUST prepare a written itemization
of your damages.
Each party must
provide the Clerk of the Court with written notice of the party's name and
current residence or business address. The notice must be provided at the time
the party files its initial pleadings with the court. If the party's address
changes during the course of a civil action, the party must provide the
Clerk of the Court with written notice of the new address.
All Motions for
Continuance, or requests to reset the Court date, must be in writing
and received by the Court no later than three working days prior to your Court
date. Weekends and Holidays are excluded. The Plaintiff
and the Defendant are each entitled to request one reset "only for good cause,"
and all other reset requests must be made by agreement of both parties.
You are responsible to bring your witnesses to Court. If
there are witnesses who will not come to Court voluntarily, you may request that
a Subpoena be prepared and served to secure their presence in Court. This
should be done at least three weeks before trial in order to allow for service
of the Subpoena. The Court does not guarantee that service will be
obtained. Successful service of witness subpoenas is your responsibility.
Contact the Clerk of the Court for fees.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER TRIAL
Either party has ten (10) days in which to appeal the
An appeal bond must be filed with the Court on or
before 4:30 pm on the 10th day after the date of
Appeals filed after this date will be denied.
Contact the Court and find out the amount of the appeal bond
Obtain a Bond for the entire amount of the Appeal Bond
required by the Court.
Pay a $16.00 Appeal Filing Fee.
Prepare a Notice of Appeal, file it with the Court along
with a $16.00 appeal filing fee.
Mail a copy of the notice to the opposing party by certified
mail, return receipt requested.
The Court will then prepare a Transcript of the events on
file in your case and send it to the County Court Clerk.
ALL Court contact from this point on will be with the
Denton County Court #2 by calling
There will be filing fees required from the County
Court, and they will contact the party who is appealing
regarding payment of those fees.
MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL: Motions
for New Trial must be filed in writing within five (5) days
from the date of the Judgment.
PARTIES TO THE SUIT
This is the party that is initiating the suit. The Plaintiff must sue the
defendant in the proper legal capacity.
This is the party being sued.
As an Individual:
You must sue the Defendant individually in the following two situations:
(1) the Defendant is personally responsible to you for damages he/she may have
caused you, and (2) the Defendant as an individual operating a
proprietorship or partnership is responsible to you for damages he/she may have
As a Proprietorship or Partnership:
A proprietorship or partnership is a business that is not incorporated, but has
filed an "Assumed Name" with the County Clerk. For example, "John
Smith, d/b/a Smith Plumbing Company." To determine whether a company or an
individual has an assumed name you must contact the County Clerk's office in the
County where the company is located.
As a Corporation:
If the business you are suing is incorporated, you must contact the State
Comptroller's Office at
www.ecpa.cpa.state.tx.us, or (800) 252-1386, or the Secretary of State
at (512) 463-5555. Ask for the name and address for service of the
Registered Agent to serve the corporation (the President or Vice-President
will also work). This is the person who has been authorized to receive
information regarding lawsuits filed against this corporation. For
example: when completing your complaint, the name of the Defendant should read
"ABC Corporation, by serving John Smith, Registered Agent."
SERVICE OF CITATION:
Each Defendant must be served personally, usually by a Constable or Sheriff, in
the County where the Defendant is located. Fees for service vary by
County. For citations to be served in a county other
than Denton County, the constable or sheriff of that County should be contacted
for the amount of the service fee and location for forwarding the citation.
If the Defendant is to be served in a state other than Texas call the County
Courthouse for the County where the Defendant will be served for information.
The Court will issue and forward the Citation to the Constable or
Sheriff's office you have indicated for service on the
Defendant. The Citation will leave this Court promptly, however it can
take several weeks or more for the Citation to be personally served.
Check periodically by telephone with the Constable or Sheriff's office directly.
It is your responsibility to insure service of your citations.
COSTS OF COURT:
fees + Service fees (see "Citation" above)
Small Claims Filing Fee $31.00
Justice Court Filing Fee $31.00