Claims in which the amount sought is not more than $3,500, exclusive of court costs can be filed in Small Claims Court. Typically, parties are not represented by attorneys and cases can be heard relatively quickly and inexpensively. A small claims case cannot be heard before a jury. The hearing officer's decision is final and not appealable. [Please note: if you believe you are entitled to damages greater than these monetary limits, but decide to sue in Small Claims Court, you give up your right to recover damages over the $3,500 limit. The additional money cannot be claimed later in a separate lawsuit.]
The Court provides the necessary forms with detailed information and instructions.
Click on the links below to view the forms:
CVSCPK1 - Small Claims Plaintiff Packet
The Court also has a webpage to start the small claims process online. To start a small claims case on the website, click here: Small Claims E-File.
Filings may be subject to a fee according to the Civil Fee Schedule. If you cannot afford the fees you may apply for a Deferral or Waiver.
Complaint - A formal allegation that initiates a lawsuit.
Creditor - One to whom a debt is owed.
Debtor - One who owes an obligation to another.
Default Judgment - A judgment entered against a defendant who has failed to plead or otherwise defend against a plaintiff's claim.
Defendant - A person being sued in a civil proceeding.
Garnishee - A third party who is served a notice by a court to surrender money for the settlement of a debt or claim.
Garnishment - a process that involves a court order to direct that money from a third party (employer or bank) be seized to satisfy a debt owed by a debtor to a plaintiff creditor.
Judgment - A formal decision made by a court.
Plaintiff - A party who brings a civil suit in a court of law.
Service - The formal delivery of a legal notice.
Summons - Provides legal notice to a party about a lawsuit and may involve an order to appear and or response to the complaint.
A party may not appeal a final order or a final judgment entered in any small claims case.
There are specific types of cases that cannot be filed in Small Claims Court. These include: