How to Sue in Texas
To file a lawsuit in Texas, as in most other states, the first step is to determine if you have a valid legal claim (or “cause of action”). This is a substantive question of law, and usually requires the advice of an attorney to answer.
Once you have determined that you have a cause of action, you or your lawyer must write a “plaintiff’s petition.” In this document, you must tell the Texas court in clear and concise language what you think the defendant has done to you. You have to assert a specific a recognized legal claim, and the facts supporting it. You do not need to present or plead any evidence supporting these facts at this stage. You do not even need to swear to their truthfulness. However, when you submit any document to the court, you are asserting that the facts contained in it are true to the best of your knowledge, information, or belief.
Once your petition has been filed with the clerk of the court, you must serve the defendant with a copy of the petition and citation. The purpose is to put the defendant on notice that they are being sued in Texas, and what they are being sued for. The citation is a document which lets the defendant know that the lawsuit is backed by the power of the state.
Service in Texas is generally accomplished by personal service. In this situation, a third party with no relation to the lawsuit delivers a copy of the petition and citation to the defendant. Once this is accomplished, that person files an affidavit with the court (known as “proof of service”) showing that service has been accomplished.
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Last Modified: 03-22-2013 04:01 PM PDT
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