Instructions/Information for filing a Justice Court Suit

The amount of debt or damages for which you may sue in Justice 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 suited in the county and precinct in which resides.

Once you have filed the petition stating the facts and circumstances of your suit, a citation will be served to the defendant notifying him o f the fact that suit has been filed against him in this court.

The citation will order the defendant to answer this suit on or before the Monday following the expiration of ten days from the receipt of the citation. If he fails to do so, you then become eligible for a default judgment up until the time an answer is filed.

If the defendant answers the suit, this court will notify both parties by mail as the trial date. The trial date will be approximately six weeks from the date the defendant answered the suit. We discourage motions for continuance. However, any request for a continuance must be in proper form and timely filed.

If you have witnesses who will not come to court voluntarily, you may come in one week prior to the trial and ask that a subpoena be prepared to secure their presence.

With respect to the trial itself, all legal rules of evidence and procedure apply in Justice Court suits. With that statement, I suggest that if one party has an attorney, the other party will be well advised to secure one. However, the legislative intent relative to the creation of this court was not only to one in law, but also to one in equity. Therefore, I will assure both the plaintiff and defendant that all facts will be solicited and a decision rendered in regard to the evidence, which are presented to the court. An attorney in this court MUST represent CORPORATIONS.

Should you receive judgment, the court does not collect the judgment. However, you may request and Abstract of Judgment and / or Writ of Execution to help you in collection of this judgment.

An Abstract of Judgment puts lien on any real property the defendant may own in a particular county where the Abstract is recorded. The Abstract is only good in the county or counties where it is recorded. This can be obtained ten days after the date of judgment.

The Writ of Execution may be obtained thirty days after the date of judgment. This document authorizes the Sheriff or Constable to seize any assets belonging to the defendant that are subject to this writ. Those assets are then auctioned at public sale and the proceeds are applied to the judgment.

A Writ of Garnishment is also available 30 days after final judgment has been entered. This Garnishment proceeding is a separate suit wherein you are the plaintiff and the defendant’s bank becomes the defendant. You are actually suing the bank in which the original defendant has his bank account. You are warning said bank to freeze the monetary assets of his account and to appear and make answer to the Garnishment suit. An attorney is required.

If you have any other procedural question, please ask our Civil Department which will try to answer them. This court may not answer any legal questions.