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JUSTICE COURT - IN WHICH COURT SHOULD I FILE?

DISCLAIMER:

This is general information only concerning uncontested procedural matters. This information is not intended to constitute legal advice or to take the place of an attorney.The Judge and the court staff are not allowed to give you legal advice or act as your attorney. When you choose to represent yourself in court, it is your responsibility to protect your rights by informing yourself of law and procedures that affect your case.

Within the limitation of certain legislation and rules, the Plaintiff (the person filing the suit) has the option to file suit against the Defendant (the person being sued) in Justice Court.


Justice Court Fee

Court Cost Total $121.00 – Includes Filing Fee of $41.00 and Service Fee of $80.00

Below is a list of differences between the courts. Please read this information carefully before making your decision.


Debt Claim Cases

The claim can be for no more than $10,000, excluding statutory interest and court costs but including attorney fees, if any.

A debt claim case is a lawsuit brought to recover a debt by an assignee of a claim, a debt collector or collection agency, a financial institution, or a person or entity primarily engaged in the business of lending money at interest.

Debt claim cases in justice court are governed by Rules 500-507 and 508 of Part V of the Rules of Civil Procedure. To the extent of any conflict between Rule 508 and the rest of Part V, Rule 508 applies.

Small Claims Cases

The claim can be for no more than $10,000, excluding statutory interest and court costs but including attorney fees, if any.

A small claims case is a lawsuit brought for the recovery of money damages, civil penalties, personal property, or other relief allowed by law.

Small claims cases are governed by Rules 500-507 of Part V of the Rules of Civil Procedure.



Filing Suit

Step 1 - Complete the Statement of Claim Package

Provide a daytime phone number and notify the Court immediately of changes in your address or phone number. Be as specific as you can about the named Defendant and the capacity in which the Defendant is being sued. Your failure to properly name the Defendant could result in your losing your lawsuit or being unable to collect on a judgment.

The three most common legal entities are:

◦ Invidual (example: John Jones)
◦ Sole Proprietor or Partnership (example: John Jones dba ABC Company)
◦ Corporation (example: ABC Company)
◦ Limited Liability Corporation (example: ABC Company, L.L.C.)


Step 2 - File the Plaintiff’s Original Petition and pay the Justice Court Fees

The plaintiff must provide enough copies to be served on each defendant. If the plaintiff fails to do so, the clerk may make copies and charge the plaintiff the allowable copying cost.


Step 3 - Service of Process

The Citation will be attached to a copy of the filed Petition and will be served on the Defendant by a Constable or Private Server. The Citation advises the Defendant of the deadline for answering the lawsuit. You should receive court notice of the date/time by mail.


Evictions

Court Cost Total $141.00 – Includes Filing Fee of $41.00 and Service Fee of $100.00. Additional citations will be assessed a $100.00 service fee.

The petition must be filed in the precinct where the premises is located. If it is filed elsewhere, the judge must dismiss the case. The plaintiff will not be entitled to a refund of the filing fee, but will be refunded any service fees paid if the case is dismissed before service is attempted. If you do not know the Justice precinct of the property please contact the Elections Office at 956-523-4050.

Rule 510 applies to a lawsuit to recover possession of real property under Chapter 24 of the Texas Property Code. Texas Property Code, Sec. 24.005 sets out the notice requirements for eviction suits. (Unless the notice requirements are stated in the signed lease).

Step 1 - Complete the Eviction Claim Package

ALL SECTIONS must be completed


Step 2 - File the Eviction Claim Package and pay the Justice Court Fees. Must provide 2 COPIES of the following:


_ NOTICE TO VACATE (Letter must include: Date it was given, name of tenants, name of landlord, address of premises and/or apt. #, date to vacate, reason for evicting tenants – Ex: Default in rent payment and the amount owed)

_ LEASE AGREEMENT/RENTAL CONTRACT (Copies). If applicable

_ COPY OF FORECLOSURE DEED (Only when banks file for possession of property-usually thru mail only)

_ POWER OF ATTORNEY - For representative of owner, if owner is unavailable to attend hearing

_ PLAINTIFF - Bring original documents on hearing date


Step 3 - Service of Process

The Citation will be attached to a copy of the filed Petition and will be served on the Defendant by a Constable, unless otherwise authorized by written court order. The Citation advises the Defendant of the deadline for answering the lawsuit. You should receive court notice of the date/time by mail.


FORMS

Note:
The links to documents on this page will open in a new window browser. 

Peace Bond Application Package
Statement of Claim Package
Eviction Claim Package






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