The answer to your question depends on which court you are in. In Justice Court, the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure apply, in Small Claims court, they do not. In both of these courts, the Judges have very broad authority to authorize or limit discovery. I suspect that you are in danger of being out-maneuvered by an attorney. If the court you are in is subject to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure then you are required to respond to the Rule 194 "request." If you do not, then bad things can happen. I would suggest that you at least consult with an attorney to determine if it makes sense for you to retain counsel, and maybe to get some pointers on how you can most likely prevail. You may want to look at chapters 27 and 28 of the Texas Government Code so that you can learn the differences between Justice and Small Claims Courts. The differences are important and can be used against you. I hope that this answer is helpful to you, if so, please consider clicking the "helpful" button below (or even the "best answer" button if you are really impressed). Thank you and good luck!
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Your last question first; the defendant does not need to file a counterclaim to get court costs. If you lose the case, then the defenedant is entitled to get its costs back. Now "court costs" do NOT include attorney's fees, so don't be misled by that.
In small claims court some discovery is allowed, but is regulated by the judge. It is limited, so they would have to show they really need it. On the other hand, if you have accidently filed in justice court (they use the same judge) then the rules for discovery apply. You may want to sit down with an attorney and pay for a consult to get a game plan for moving forward correctly.
This is not legal advice. You should always discuss the specifics of your issue in person with an attorney. Be aware that there are time limits on all claims that depend on the kind of claim, so do not delay in seeking an attorney.
I agree with the other lawyers who have responded. I would add only that your chances of winning a case pro se where the defendant has a lawyer and you don't are extremely poor. Even in small claims court, the judge is required to follow the law. If one side knows the law and the other side doesn't, the side that doesn't is at a tremendous disadvantage and, therefore, almost always loses.
You cannot learn how to prosecute your case successfully on this or any other website. I suggest you consult a lawyer right away. If you cannot or will not hire a lawyer, you might want to consider saving yourself some time, money and anguish by simply abandoning the enterprise.
I am sorry to be the bearer of the above bad tidings.