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Small Claims Cases

This legal research guide provides information about small claims cases in justice court and provides links to filing information for select Texas counties.

Filing Information

Where Do I File My Case?

Texas Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 502.4(b) states that a defendant in a small claims or debt claim case is entitled to be sued in one of the following venues in the county and precinct:

  1. where the defendant resides;
  2. where the incident, or the majority of incidents, that gave rise to the claim occurred;
  3. where the contract or agreement, if any, that gave rise to the claim was to be performed; or
  4. where the property is located, in a suit to recover personal property. 

Subsection (c) of that Rule goes on to state that if the defendant is out-of-state or if their residence is unknown, "the plaintiff may file the suit in the county and precinct where the plaintiff resides."

Who Do I Sue?

Suing a person

If you are suing an individual, you will name the individual in your suit.

Suing a business

If you are suing a business that is not a corporation, you'll need to determine who the owner is. Businesses with an assumed name (sometimes referred to as DBA, "doing business as") must be on file with the county clerk where they are located. Many county clerk's offices offer an online database through their website where you can search for this information.

If you are suing a corporation, you will need to find the name of their registered agent. For corporations registered in Texas, you can use the Secretary of State's SOSDirect database. Note: They do charge a fee to use this database.

Understanding the Law

The Texas Secretary of State answers additional questions about registered agents and the service process.

Filing Information for Select Texas Counties

Below are links to the justice courts for some of Texas' most populous counties. Most of the websites listed will have you select which precinct in order to locate additional filing information and downloadable print forms (if available). 

If your county does not have their own forms available to use, check out our Commonly Requested Legal Forms page for small claims forms available online.

Filing Your Case Online

E-filing is a way of filing court documents electronically, without having to send in paper copies to the clerk's office. Texas's site uses guided interviews to help you create your forms. The website will ask you certain questions and use your answers to build your forms. 

E-Books Available from the Texas State Law Library

These e-books contain information on small claims cases and justice courts. These e-books can be viewed by those who have signed up for a free library account with the State Law Library. Only Texas residents are eligible to create an account. Creating an account is free.

Volume 3, Chapter 46 from this resource discuss justice court proceedings.

Books at the Texas State Law Library

These print books at the State Law Library contain information related to small claims cases and justice courts. If you are not able to visit the State Law Library in Austin, these books might be available at a law library near you or a public library near you.

Volume 3, Chapter 46 from this resource discusses justice court proceedings.

Volume 2, Chapter 16 discusses rules of practice in justice court.