Q: How much can I sue for in Small Claims court?
- A: The maximum amount you can sue for up to $7,500 You cannot file more than two claims for more than $2,500.00 each during a calendar year.
Q: May I sue for the recovery of property?
- A: Small claims are for the recovery of money only.
Q: How do I file a claim?
- A: You may either come directly to the clerk’s office to fill out the appropriate paperwork or have the paperwork mailed to you by sending in your request along with a self-addressed stamped envelope.
Q: How old do I have to be to file a claim:
- A: You must be at least 18 years of age to file a claim. If you are not yet 18, you may ask the court to appoint a guardian.
Q: How much does it cost to file a claim?
Q: Do my forms have to be typed?
- A: No.The court will accept legible hand written forms.
Q: May I fax my small claims documents?
- A: Current legislation does not allow for fax filings in small claims.
Q: Is this the proper court to hear my case?
- A: The plaintiff must file their claim in the proper court and geographical location. This rule is called venue. Below are possible reasons for filing a claim in this court:
A defendant lives in this judicial district or a defendant corporation or unincorporated association has its principal place of business in this judicial district.
A person was injured or personal property was damaged in this judicial district.
A defendant signed or entered into a contract in this judicial district, a defendant lived in this judicial district when the contract was entered into, a contract or obligation was to be performed in this judicial district, or, if the defendant was a corporation, the contract was breached in this judicial district.
Q: How do I go about serving the defendant(s) with their notice of the claim?
- A: The defendant must be served with a copy of the claim 10 days prior to the hearing date if they live in the county and 15 days prior if they live outside the county. The types of service are:
- Certified Mail - Service by certified mail must be done by the clerk's office. The fee is $7.00 per defendant being served. You will need to check with the court prior to the hearing to see if the receipt for certified mail was returned to the court.
- Service by law officer - You may have the Sheriff serve the defendant for a fee
- Personal service or process server - Anyone over 18 years of age, not a party to the case, may serve the defendant. The person serving must complete and sign a proof of service form showing when the defendant was served. This form must be filed with the court 5 days prior to the hearing date.
Q: May I be represented by an attorney at the trial?
- A: No, neither side may be represent by an attorney at trial. However, attorneys may represent either side if an appeal is filed or in connection with the enforcement of a judgment.
Q: May I get a continuance on my court date?
- A: In order to request a continuance you must write a letter to the court indicating why the continuance is being requested and include a $15.00 processing fee. You are also required to mail a copy of the letter to the other parties on the case. If the request is received by the court within 5 days of the court date the request will be attached to the court case to be considered by the judge at the time of trial. If the request is received more than 5 days prior to the court date you will be notified of the judge's decision by mail.
Q: Has the certified mail been returned as served on my case?
- A: Each case is handled on an individual basis. You will need to contact the clerk's office within 5 days prior to the court date to verify whether or not the defendant(s) was served in your case
Q: My case has settled but there is still a court date scheduled, what do I do?
- A: The plaintiff must file a request for dismissal with the court. If the claim was satisfied with payment by check, the plaintiff may want to wait until the check has cleared the bank before filing the dismissal.
Q: My case was taken under submission. Has a ruling been entered?
- A: The judge has up to 90 days to make a ruling on a case that has been taken under submission. Notice of the ruling will be mailed to you when a decision has been made.
Q: I won my case, how do I collect the judgment?
- A: You must pursue the collection of the judgment. The court offers forms that you may fill out for enforcement of a judgment. If you do not have information regarding the judgment debtor’s income or property, you may make the debtor come to court to answer questions. This is done by filing an Order of Examination. There is a filing fee. Once you have the financial information needed, you may file a "Writ of Execution". There is a fee for issuance of a Writ of Execution. A Writ of Execution is a court paper, which tells a law officer to take property of the judgment debtor to pay your claim. The kinds of property an officer may be able to take: wages, bank accounts, automobiles, and business property or rental income. The Sheriff will charge a fee to execute the writ. If the debtor owns property you may want to record an abstract to place a lien so that you will be able to be paid if the property is purchased, sold or financed. There is an issuance fee. The abstract is recorded with the County Recorder in the county where the property is located. The Recorder will charge a fee to have the abstract recorded.
- Click Here For A Printable Civil Filing and Appearance Fees List
Q: I won my small claims case and the judgment debtor has paid me in full. Is there anyone I should notify?
- A: After full payment of the judgment is made, the judgment creditor must immediately file with the court an acknowledgment of satisfaction of the judgment. The judgment creditor may be liable for damages if satisfaction of judgment is not filed with the court in a timely manner.
Q: I failed to appear at my small claims trial and now there is a judgment against me. Is there anything I can do?
- A: You may ask the court to vacate the judgment. To make this request you must file a motion to vacate the judgment within 30 days after the date the Notice of Entry of Judgment was mailed to you. If your request is denied, you then have 10 days from the date the notice of denial was mailed to file an appeal.