Civil Division Information
The Civil Division of District Court is designed to allow collection agencies, a collection agent, a firm, an association, a corporation or an individual being represented by an attorney, to file a claim to settle certain disputes that are not in excess of $25,000.00 and do not meet the criteria to be filed in the Small Claims division. These may include contracts, recovery for damages to personal property, money owed, or for delivery of personal property. A civil lawsuit usually deals with private rights of individuals, groups or businesses. Any claim in excess of $25,000.00 will need to be filed in Circuit Court.
An example of a civil lawsuit is a collection agency suing an individual for a medical debt or a credit card company suing an individual for a past due bill.
The Civil Division holds trials and hearings on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Courtroom at 1:00 p.m.
If you are unsure how you should proceed with your case or whether or not you should proceed with a case, please contact an attorney. Please do not contact the clerk for legal advice. A court clerk is not permitted to give legal advice about any case, quote or interpret laws, quote or interpret rules, recommend attorneys, recommend methods of service, recommend process servers, or anything of that nature. The clerk may not answer questions that go beyond very limited procedural direction. The clerk's primary job is as keeper of the records only and he or she must remain unbiased in that position.
New case filing fee: $80.00 plus a $2.50 per Summons Fee
Transfer case filing fee: $80.00
Writ of Garnishment issuance: $10.00
Writ of Execution issuance: $10.00
Writ of Scire Facias issuance: $10.00
Appeal transcript fee: $20.00
Triple Authenticated copy: $10.00
Certified Copy: $5.00
Clerk Subpoena issuance: $5.00
Copies: $0.12 per page
A civil action is started when a plaintiff or an attorney for a plaintiff brings a written complaint to the court clerk to be filed. The court clerk must file mark the complaint with the date and time of filing, which establishes venue. The complaint must include the following information to serve its legal purpose:
• The names and current addresses of the plaintiff and the defendant;
• The amount of money claimed or a description of the property to be recovered;
• A brief description of why the plaintiff believes the defendant owes the amount of money or property claimed;
• Signature of the plaintiff or attorney for the plaintiff and contact information.
Additional documents might be attached to the complaint form if the plaintiff believes it is necessary. Once the complaint is accepted by the clerk of court and filed by the court, the clerk will issue a summons. The plaintiff or plaintiff's attorney will then need to have the summons and complaint served upon the defendant to inform the defendant that an action has been filed against him or her.
An action is not commenced unless the defendant is served with the claim form within one hundred twenty (120) days of filing. The plaintiff may elect to have the summons served on the defendant by certified mail restricted delivery, a process server or by the sheriff. Each defendant must be served, otherwise, the court does not obtain jurisdiction over the defendant. The court must have proof of service showing the date of service before proceeding with any further actions. The Court does not collect the service fee or arrange for the service of the paperwork.
Each person listed as a defendant in a lawsuit must file a written answer if he or she wishes to contest the claim of the plaintiff. The defendant has thirty (30) days from the date of service of the lawsuit to file an answer to the complaint with the clerk. The defendant is required to mail a copy of the answer to the plaintiff as well as to the court.
The court does not take payments or make payment arrangements for debts owed in complaints filed in civil or small claims court. If the defendant admits everything in the lawsuit and wishes to make arrangements to pay the debt, he or she may contact the plaintiff or plaintiff's attorney directly from the information provided in the complaint.
IF YOU ARE THE DEFENDANT:
If you have been named as a defendant in a civil or small claims action and have received a Summons and Complaint or an Order to Appear in court, this means that you are being sued. If you don’t know why you are being sued, contact the plaintiff and ask for an explanation. NEVER ignore a Summons and Complaint or an order to appear in court even if you think the case is wrong, unfair, or has no basis. If you do not appear in court at the proper time and date, or file an answer to the claim in the time allotted to do so, the court may still hear and decide the case without you and you may lose the suit by default.
Why didn't the Court notify me about…?
The clerk's primary job is as an unbiased keeper of the records. It is the responsibility of the plaintiff or plaintiff's attorney to provide the defendant or defendant's attorney with copies of any documents or correspondence made with the court and vice versa. The only correspondence the court clerk will have with the parties is limited to the activity needed to set trial dates, and in small claims cases to mail the parties a copy of the judgment or order entered by the judge. It is also the responsibility of the parties to maintain current contact information with the court clerk, including mailing addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.