In small claims court, should the defendant's answer and affirmative defense be addressed by the plaintiff when presenting the case to the judge and jury?
Question Details: The plaintiff left their vehicle with a national auto repair shop that needed to transport the car to a different location. The auto shop used their namesake towing dispatching service to call a 3rd party tow truck, which is alleged by the defendant to have caused damage to the client's car while in transport between store locations. Both parties pointed the finger at each other, and closed the case knowing the damage had not been repaired. The plaintiff has filed suit in small claims court against both parties in TX. The auto shop's attorney has provide an itemized defense flatly denying all responsibility. Still waiting for an answer by the towing company, though it is likely they will deny liability as well. Who should be liable? Should the affirmative defense provided by the defendants be used by the plaintiff to formulate the presentation of the facts to the judge?