Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Small Claims Information

Points to Consider before filing

The Court is only a tool that is available to you for settling disputes or establishing and reducing your claims to judgment. You are responsible for locating the parties, determining your course of action, gathering your witnesses and evidence. The necessary forms may be picked up at window's #3, #4 or #5 at the Trial Court Business Office, or downloaded here.

Before filing your claim, you should have some idea what your chances are of collecting. A judgment does not mean automatic payment. It simply means you have proven to the satisfaction of the court that the person you sued owes you money. There are often cases where a judgment is not particularly difficult to obtain, but the collection of money is difficult if not impossible.

The party you have sued may be penniless or bankrupt. He or She may have gone out of business or left town, or may not earn enough for you to garnishee wages. Income such as welfare, unemployment, social security, etc., cannot be garnisheed. If you can't collect, a judgment in your favor may turn out to be a hollow victory.


Settlement Prior to Hearing Date

Often the defendant may want to settle out of court before the hearing date.

  • If settlement is made before he is served with the summons, you are not entitled to your court costs.
  • If settlement is made after he is served, you are entitled to add your court costs. If the claim is paid you should notify the Court in writing by filing a Dismissal (MC09) before the hearing.

The Day of the Hearing

Plan to arrive at the court a few minutes early to check in with the court staff in Hearing Room B, located on the first floor.

You must bring all paperwork, witnesses, and evidence to prove your case.
No Adjournment will be granted to permit you to bring these at a later date.


Collection of the Judgement


If the judgment is not paid, either in full or to your satisfaction, within 30 days of entry, you may pursue collection by the following means: