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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

Bill Tracker: SB 1416 – Limits to Controversy

To file a case in federal court, a potential litigant must meet what is called the amount in controversy. Basically, if your case is not worth a minimum of $75,000, then you can’t make a federal case out of your problems. There are, of course, many exceptions.

Currently, a person who loses a Justice of the Peace case may file an appeal with the county court or county court at law if the amount in controversy is over $20. This threshold has been too low for too long. A person could literally have a jury trial over a bad $25 hair cut and then appeal it to the county court level.

SB 1416 addresses this "mountain out of a molehill" problem in our JP system. This bill changes the $20 amount in controversy to $250. It may not seem like much, but this move is significant to an entire level of civil practice. Effectively, we are saying that to participate in the civil justice system, you need to have a fight actually worth fighting.

This bill made it out of the Senate and is proceeding in the House.

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