Venue - In all civil suits the Defendant generally has the right to be sued in the county and precinct in which he resides, however there are exceptions.
Legal Capacity of Defendant - You must sue the Defendant in their proper legal capacity. There are 3 general categories:
- Proprietorship or Partnership – for example “John Doe, d.b.a. Smith Plumbing”
- Corporation – If the business that has injured you is incorporated, you must contact the State Comptroller’s Office at (800) 252-1386 or Secretary of State at (512) 463-5555 and obtain the name and address for service of the Registered Agent. This is the person who has been authorized to receive information regarding lawsuits filed against the corporation. The filing should read something to the effect of “ABC Corporation, by serving John Doe, Registered Agent”.
Citation - After you file the petition, with the Serviceman’s Relief Act affidavit, the court will issue a citation to be served on the Defendant. You may choose to have the Constable serve the petition or have it served by a private process server. No person who is a party to or has an interest in the outcome of a suit may serve any process.
Answer - The citation states that the Defendant must file an answer on or before the Monday following the expiration of 10 days. If they fail to do so, you MAY be eligible for a default judgment. You must contact the court to request a default judgment and if necessary a hearing may be held.
Plaintiff’s Burden - It is your burden as the Plaintiff to prove your case. Be sure to bring any documents or witnesses necessary to do so. You are not required to be represented by an attorney however you may not be represented by anyone who is not an attorney.
Court Rules and Procedures - Rules of evidence, discovery and civil procedure DO apply. This court is informal and the Judge has the duty to develop the facts of the case. This is generally beneficial to parties who do not have an attorney.
Dress Code - All requirements pertain to both adult and juvenile males and females unless otherwise noted. Failure to comply may result in the resetting of the case to a later date, or in the extreme, contempt of court:
- Shoes are required
- No sleeveless shirts
- No shorts
- No exposed midriffs
- No clothing displaying offensive words or pictures (the Court retains the exclusive right to define “offensive” on an individual basis).
- No hats (exception: religion)
- Officers of the court are held to the higher standards generally recognized in Texas Courts.
After the suit - This court does not collect judgments. If you are awarded a judgment in your case and you are not paid immediately by the Defendant you may pursue several areas of post judgment enforcement, including but not limited to:
- Abstract of Judgment
- Writ of Execution
- Writ of Garnishment
Seek legal advice from a licensed attorney for help with these and other options.