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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    10

    Default Jury Trial in Small Claims Court

    My question involves small claims court in the state of: Texas

    I have filed a small claims suit against an individual and their attorney is requesting a jury trial. Will this case still be seen in a small claims court or will it be moved to a different venue?

    My other question is: If I am going to represent myself, who will make opening and closing statements on my side? Who will get to ask the questions from the witnesses and who will cross examine the defendant's witnesses? I would also like to take the witness stand myself, will I be asking questions from myself in that case?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Key West, FL
    Posts
    2,350

    Default Re: Jury Trial in Small Claims Court

    I have never heard of a jury trial in a small claims case in any state, but I learned something new.

    However, in the case of Texas, a jury trial is permitted. Also, small claims go up to $10,000 which is higher than many states.

    However, there are certain types of cases that are not permitted in small claims which includes debt collections agencies, actions by lenders, etc.

    If you are going up against an attorney, you need to become a quick study on trial procedure. As Texas also allows limited discovery in small claims, which most states don't, take advantage of that so you are not taken by surprise with their defense. Depositions can be expensive, but you can ask questions in writing in interrogatories. Learn the Texas rules fast.

    You subpenoa all the witnesses you want to call including the person you are suing. Do not assume they will be there and this makes them your witnesses. If you know what you are doing, calling all or some of the defense witnesses and/or defendants in your case in chief can be an effective tactic and take the wind out of the defense's presentation. These are hostile witnesses and you can ask leading questions, which you can't do with your own witnesses. The defense still has to call them for the defense and you get to cross examine them again.

    It would pay to get some books from Lexis/Nexis or similar place on trial procedure.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Jury Trial in Small Claims Court

    Unless he's also moved to remove the trial to another court, you can have a jury trial in a Texas small claims court and can thus expect the case to proceed in that court. Read this.

    When you represent yourself, you make your own arguments. As is explained in the article, typically you'll have the opportunity to state your version of the case, uninterrupted, but can ask the court to clarify its preferred procedure.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Jury Trial in Small Claims Court

    Typically your testimony will be given in narrative form (you just talking), but the judge will make that decision.

    There's laws and rules of evidence in small claims court, yaddayaddayadda, but they are rarely followed.

    There's no way to tell you what will happen. You'd have better luck consulting your magic 8 ball.

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