Tue. Nov 29th, 2022

Before filing a case in Small Claims Court, it is important to decide whether recourse to Small Claims Court is the best way to resolve your dispute. Many disputes can be resolved through the use of other dispute resolution methods, such as mediation. Many counties assist in informal dispute resolution through their local consumer offices or through local public or private dispute resolution or mediation programs. Make sure you allow enough time to maintain the process. If possible, give yourself at least six weeks for the service process (i.e. you will receive a hearing date at least six weeks in advance). Someone must give each defendant an authentic copy of the plaintiff`s application form (Form SC-100) at least 15 days before the hearing date if the defendant lives in the county where the lawsuit is filed, or at least 20 days before the hearing date if the defendant lives outside the county where the lawsuit is filed. If the service was a replacement service, add 10 days to each of the two time requests listed above (the replaced service will be discussed in more detail later). Regardless of the type of service you use, the service must be completed within the explicit time frame before the hearing. If you do not serve the defendant within these express time limits, the defendant can ask the court to postpone the hearing and, in most cases, the date of the hearing will be changed. When counting the days, do not count the day the service was completed, but the date of the hearing. Also keep in mind that a completed and signed Small Claims Form (Form SC-104) indicating that the process was served within these time limits must be filed with small claims court at least five days before the hearing date. For more information, ask the Clerk what is “proof of service”? (Form SC-104B).

Like all court forms, you can read and print them by visiting the Judicial Council`s self-help website in www.courtinfo.ca.gov. On the other hand, if your case barely exceeds the maximum, you may want to waive the excess amount in dispute. For example, you owe $5,500, but the law only allows you to award $5,000 to small claims court. You may decide it`s worth it for you to sue for just $5,000 instead of paying higher court fees or significant legal fees. If there is more than one district or judicial district where your application can be filed correctly, you can choose the court that is best for you and your witnesses. If you file an application in a district or court where the defendant does not reside, you must inform them before the hearing (20 days instead of 15 days), so it will take longer for your case to be heard. On appeal, the case is formally retried before the District Court in strict compliance with all rules of evidence and procedure, where lawyers usually represent the parties. A jury may be sought in district court if the claim exceeds $100. In addition, enterprises whose status has “expired” are not considered to be registered with the Secretary of State for the purposes of the Small Claims Service. However, companies with “suspended” status are considered to be registered with the Secretary of State for the purposes of the Small Claims Service. In most cases, the parties to a small claim must represent themselves. As a general rule, lawyers or non-legal representatives (for example, debt collection agencies or insurance companies) are not allowed to represent you in small claims court.

To determine which court or tribunals might be appropriate in your situation, it is advisable to consult a small claims consultant. You will save yourself and the other party a lot of possible problems and costs if you carefully select the court where you are taking your legal action. When you file your case, you must indicate on your application form (Form SC-100) why the court where you filed your application is an appropriate court. In particular, in cases filed against a defendant who lives outside the county (or outside the place of court where the court is located), the judge will carefully consider and decide whether the court is appropriate for that case. If the Deputy Sheriff or Private Trial Server is unable to deliver the documents using the above methods, then the documents will be returned to the court with the written statement of the Deputy Sheriff or Private Trial Server that the defendant has not been found. This means that the sheriff or process server has not been able to deliver the documents and there is no good service. If there is no good service, the court cannot hear the case. You need to find a better address or seek the advice of a lawyer. You must also prepare all the witnesses you wish to testify at the hearing in support of your application or defence. The testimony of someone who has particular or specialized knowledge and experience with respect to the subject matter of your claim may be necessary for you to prove your case. For example, if your claim is about the quality of medical care, you must find a doctor who is willing to give an opinion to the court about the quality of care you have received. While you can find an expert to testify at no cost to you, you`re more likely to have to pay for expert testimony.

Links to websites designed to assist self-represented persons in legal proceedings are listed under www.publiclawlibrary.org/. Links to other sources of information can be found on the Consumer Reports magazine website. If the civil arrest warrant was served by “affixing” (see above) the civil arrest warrant to the front door of the defendant`s home, the court will not issue a default judgment until the plaintiff has confirmed that the plaintiff has sent the defendant a copy of the civil order at least ten days earlier. If you have used the shipping certificate mentioned above, you must show it to the judge or tell him that you submitted it to the court office before the date of the hearing. If you cannot prove to the court that you sent a copy of the civil order to the defendant at least ten days ago, the case will continue and the default judgment will not be registered until you can prove that you did. Small claims sessions are held in every Massachusetts District Court, Boston Municipal Court, and Boston Housing Court. Each district court is informally identified by the name of the city or municipality in which it is located. The plaintiff (the person bringing the action) has the opportunity to take legal action in the district court where the plaintiff or defendant (the person or company sued) lives or has his place of business or work. In disputes between landlords and tenants, the plaintiff could bring an action in the district where the property is located.

A lawyer – whether it`s your carrier`s lawyer or yours – can handle these issues better than you. If, for example, the trial date contradicts the requirements of your practice, he may request a postponement.

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