Where do I file a Small Claims case?
Go to the District Court Clerk's Office and ask to speak with a Small Claims Court Clerk. The Clerk will provide you with the forms necessary to file a Small Claims case. You will also be provided with an information sheet that briefly explains the procedure and the Clerk will answer any non-legal questions you may have.
If you have legal questions, please contact an attorney of your choice. Court Clerks are not permitted to provide legal advice.
Why am I getting a letter from an attorney about a case against me that I didn't know about?
Attorneys sometimes send employees from their offices to collect information about new case filings in the court. They do this so that they may send letters to individuals informing them of the availability of their services. The cases that letters are sent out for may or may not have been served on the defendant at the time they have collected the information and sent out the correspondence.
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.
Why didn't I get a Court Date with my paperwork?
A Court Date is not assigned to a case until after the Defendant has filed an Answer with the Court and time for Discovery has been completed. If the Defendant fails to file an Answer with the Court within thirty (30) days after the paperwork has been served, or failed to respond to Discovery requests, the Plaintiff may file a Motion for Default Judgment or Motion for Summary Judgment. If the Defendant is found to be in default, the Judge may choose to sign a Default Judgment without a Court Hearing. If you do not understand the process, please consult with an attorney.
How do I prepare for my hearing/trial in Small Claims Court?
The purpose of Small Claims Court is to offer an inexpensive and quick method of resolving disputes and your preparation will help this effort. Bring all evidence with you at the time of your trial. This includes all receipts, invoices, pictures, etc. Provide a spreadsheet documenting how you arrived at the amount you are seeking on your complaint and provide the Court Clerk with Copies of any Contracts, Lease agreements, bills of sale, receipts, cancelled checks or any other documents that you will use to prove your case. Please bring your copies when you first file your claim or 1 week prior you trial date. Bring all witnesses with you to the trial, no continuance will be granted to bring new witness or evidence at a later date. If you feel you may need to subpoena a witness, provide the Court with their name, correct address and case number and the Clerk will issue the subpoena(s), you must do this (1) week prior to your court date. The cost for subpoena is $5 to the court plus the service fee either by certified mail, Sheriff's Office or Process Server.