Small Claims Court Suits Information

Please Read Carefully Before Completing the Petition

The amount of debt or damages for which you may sue in Small Claims 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. There are exceptions to this rule.

It is your burden as a plaintiff and it is important that you understand that for any potential judgment you may receive to be valid it is necessary for you to sue the defendant in their proper legal capacity, of which there are typically three. They are as follows:

Personally: Where an individual is responsible to you for damages he may have caused you as an individual.

Proprietor or partnership: A business that is not incorporated, but does have on file with the County Clerk an assumed name e.g. John Smith d.b.a. Greenhouse Supplies . To determine whether or not this person has filed an assumed name, you would contact the County Clerk at the Grayson County Courts House.

Corporation: The business which has allegedly caused you damage is incorporated and therefore it is necessary to know the individual’s name who I able to accept service on behalf of the corporation. (The authorized agent for service would be listed with the Secretary of State whose phone number is 1-800-252-1386) e.g. Greenhouse, Inc. Serve: John Smith registered agent.

If, as plaintiff, you are in the business of loaning money either primarily (banks, credit unions, savings and loans), or secondarily (credit cards) you are not allowed to file in the Small Claims Court ; however, an attorney representing any of the above may file suits on the behalf of the above in the Justice Court.

Also, an action in Small Claims Court may not be brought by an assigned claim; or collection agency .

Once you have filed the petition stating the facts and circumstances of your suit, a citation will be served to the defendant notifying him of 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. This office will notify you of your court date.

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.

Notarized statements from individuals are of very little value. Personal appearance and testimony is much more beneficial.

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 call the office (903)-465-0984 which will try to answer them. This court may not answer any legal questions.