File a Small Claims Case
You, the plaintiff, must file a “Statement of Claim” form, available at your Clerk’s office. This must be fully completed and signed to receive a pre-trial conference date. If your claim is based upon written documentation, attach a copy of the contract to the Statement of Claim form. You may file by mail or in person.
Who can file a small claims case?
• Anyone 18 years of age or older
• A parent or guardian for anyone under 18 years of age
• Anyone having a claim not exceeding $5,000
What happens after the filing of a small claims case?
Each person or business being sued must be served with a Summons or Notice to appear in court on the date and time shown on the summons or notice. This court date will be a pre-trial conference and parties should be prepared to present their case in court.
What is a pre-trial conference?
A pre-trial conference is an informal process to determine if there is a cause of action. If so, the court will refer the case to mediation. A trained mediator will try to negotiate a settlement before the case goes to trial. If the dispute is settled, it goes to the judge for approval without delay. If the dispute remains unsettled, a trial date will be set by the court. If you cannot be present at the pre-trial conference an attorney may represent you, a continuance may be arranged between both parties, a motion for continuance may be filed with the court.
What happens if a dispute goes to trial?
If a small claims dispute goes to trial, the court will schedule a trial date and the parties must appear at the trial with all witnesses and documentation. At the trial, both parties will have an opportunity to explain the case to the judge. Witnesses will also have a chance to testify.
Small Claims Filing Fees
Filing fees vary depending on the amount of the claim requested and are subject to annual change by legislative action. Please note: the fees are non-refundable but may be recovered later through the defendant.
Claims less than $100: $ 55
Claims from $101 - $500: $ 80
Claims from $501 - $2,500: $ 175
Claims more than $2,501: $ 300