12th District Court Civil Division - Small Claims Court

 

WHAT IS SMALL CLAIMS COURT?

ANSWER:  Small Claims Court is a tool that is available to you for settling disputes or establishing and reducing your claims to judgment.  It allows a person a quick, inexpensive and fair determination of claims up to $3,000.00.  If your claim is for more than that amount and you still elect to file in the small claims division, you give up or "waive" your right to collect more than the $3,000.00 jurisdictional amount.
 


WHO MAY FILE A CLAIM?

ANSWER:  If you feel a business or individual owes you money, you can bring a lawsuit against that person or business in  the small claims division of the district court.  A party who sues another party is called the plaintiff.  The party being sued is called   the defendant.  There can be multiple plaintiffs & defendants.  The following table has been prepared to help you determine if you are the proper person to file a claim.
 
 

 PLAINTIFF IS:

WHO MAY FILE AND APPEAR IN COURT

INDIVIDUAL

ANY ADULT 

PARTNERSHIP

ANY PARTNER OR FULL-TIME EMPLOYEE

PROPRIETORSHIP

PROPRIETOR OR FULL-TIME EMPLOYEE

CORPORATION

ANY OFFICER OR FULL-TIME EMPLOYEE

 

WHERE DO I FILE MY CLAIM?

ANSWER: The 12th District Court has jurisdiction over cases in Jackson County only.  In order to sue in the 12th District Court, the defendant must live or be established (if a business) in Jackson County or the cause of action (contract, accident or claim) must have happened in Jackson County.  It's not enough that the plaintiff lives in Jackson County.  If you file in the wrong Court, the case may be transferred to the appropriate court AT YOUR EXPENSE.  This usually means paying another filing fee to the correct court.

  

 

WHERE DO I GET THE PAPERS TO FILE A CLAIM?

ANSWER:  The "Affidavit & Claim" forms may be obtained from the 12th District Court Civil Division, located on the 1st floor of the Jackson County Courthouse  or at any office supply business that sells legal forms.

 

 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO FILE A SMALL CLAIMS SUIT?

ANSWER: The amount of your claim determines the filing fee.  If you intend to utilize the services of a process server, you will be expected to pay a process server fee and mileage.

 

WHEN WILL MY CASE BE HEARD & BEFORE WHOM?

ANSWER:  When your claim is filed, a hearing date is typically set within 3-4 weeks, in some cases it may be longer, but no longer than  45 days from the day you file.  Your case will be heard by the a magistrate, who is also a licensed attorney.  Plan to arrive a few minutes early to check in with the small claims clerk.  You must bring all the necessary paperwork, witnesses and evidence to prove your claim.  If defendant has acknowledged service and you fail to appear for the hearing, your claim will be dismissed.  If the defendant has acknowledged service and fails to appear, a default judgment would be entered on your behalf for the amount of the claim.

 

POINTS TO REMEMBER:

  1. The court clerks are available to offer you assistance in processing your small claims matter.  Court clerks are NOT attorneys and are forbidden by law to give legal advice.
  2. The court can render money judgments but has no power to force someone to do something or to stop doing something.
  3. By having your case tried in the small claims division, you give up the following rights
    • The right to be represented by an attorney;
    • The right to have a jury trial;
    • The right to appeal the final decision of the court.
  4. The court does NOT collect the money for you once you have obtained a judgment.
  5. Have your paperwork, including the case number, available when contacting the court.  
This page orginated on October 19, 2010 and was last modified on April 23, 2014

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