A small claims case is a legal action filed in county court to settle minor legal disputes among parties where the dollar amount involved is $8,000 or less, excluding costs, interest, and attorney fees.
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Other fees are required for service on the parties sued and are dependent on the type of service selected. Filing fees may be made by check or money order. The Clerk's Office also accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards. A current Schedule of Service Charges is available in any Clerk's Office location or visit the Fee Schedule page.
Copies of any contracts, notes, leases, receipts, or other evidence in support of the claim must be furnished for each person sued and the court. The originals must be brought to the first court appearance. A full explanation of the reason for the small claims action will be necessary.
At the pretrial conference mediation is ordered if both parties to the dispute are present and unable to settle their dispute. A mediator acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. Mediation is an informal and non-adversarial process with the objective of helping the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement. In mediation, decision-making authority rests with the parties. Mediation is confidential.
If the dispute cannot be settled at the pre-trial conference, a trial date will be scheduled by the court. 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, ask the other party any questions concerning the claim, present documentation as discussed at the pre-trial conference, and call witnesses.
Reasons the Judge will require mediation:
Yes, a trial by jury may be requested by the person filing the Small Claims case, upon written demand at the time the case is filed. The person being sued may request a jury trial within 5 days after service of notice or at the pre-trial conference.