(Claims limited to $10,000 or less)
The Small Claims Court allows every citizen to bring a lawsuit in an informal manner and does not require a party hire an attorney. You may hire an attorney if you want; however, in most instances you will not be able to get the other party to pay your legal fees even if you win, unless there is some written agreement or statute making the other party liable for your attorney’s fees.
The Small Claims Courts were created so that you would have a speedy, reasonably inexpensive, and uncomplicated means of determination of your claim. It is for your benefit. It is your right. Do not be afraid to use it. The Court’s staff and the Clerk’s staff will assist you but they cannot give legal advice.
The procedures are not complex. The Plaintiff fills out a simple form stating why the Defendant owes him or her money or that the Defendant has property which should be returned to the Plaintiff. Each party will explain his or her side of the story to the Judicial Officer at trial. The Judicial Officer may ask questions of each party to determine the complete facts of the case. The Judicial Officer will make a decision based upon the facts and evidence presented by the parties and on the law as it applies to the facts.