Instructions for Filing a Statement of Claim
Please read the following instructions carefully. The Deputy Clerks do not have the authority to give legal advice. Generally, the Civil Practice Act does not apply to the Magistrate Court. However, the Rules of Evidence do, and all litigants will be bound thereby.
- The jurisdictional limit of civil actions in Magistrate Court is $15,000.
- If your claim is more than $15,000 you cannot voluntarily reduce the amount sued for or sue for only part of it to bring your suit in Magistrate Court.
- Generally, civil actions, including those filed in Magistrate Court, must be filed in the county where the defendant resides.
- The party filing the claim is the plaintiff and the person(s) being sued is the defendant(s).
- The plaintiff must fill out the original claim form and the copy.
- Filing fees are as follows:
- One defendant is $78
- Two defendants is $113
- Each additional defendant is $35
- No personal checks are accepted
- The plaintiff should state the facts upon which he or she bases his or her claim against the defendant. This information must include the date of the incident which has given rise to the action.
- The defendant’s complete and accurate residence address should be included on the claim form at the time of filing so that he or she may be served. Post office box numbers will not be accepted.
- Be certain that the correct names of the parties are given. The plaintiff and the defendant should be designated as individuals, a corporation, or a partnership.
- The plaintiff must swear to the accuracy of the claim form and sign the verification before a deputy clerk. If the plaintiff mails the claim form into this office, the claim form and verification must be witnessed or sworn before a Notary Public.
- If the basis of the plaintiff’s claim is an open account or contract, the plaintiff must provide sufficient copies of the account or contract to the court at the time of filing for copies to be served upon all defendants.
Once the Marshal’s Office has attempted or perfected service, you will receive a postcard which will tell you if and when the defendant was served. The defendant has 45 days from the date of service to file an answer. If an answer is filed, the Court will schedule a hearing and both parties will be mailed a copy of the notice of hearing advising both parties of the date, time, and place to appear for the hearing. If you wish to subpoena witnesses, see a Deputy Clerk. Individuals being subpoenaed must be served at least 24 hours prior to the hearing. After the expiration of 50 days, if you have not received a notice of hearing you may return to this office to request a Default Judgment.