Small Claims

Who pays for undelivered goods? Consider the typical situation where you ordered goods by telephone from a mail order catalog. Or, you ordered goods from a local store. In each case, you were required to pay in advance of receiving the goods.

There are certain rules and procedures, which must be followed when you get to court. First, both sides should appear at the proper place at the proper time and respond to the clerk when your case is called.

This section deals with the actual notice given to defendants when they are being sued and what happens if there is not proper notice.


All courts will require you to provide proof that you have actually given notice of the lawsuit to all of the defendants. The courts strive for actual notice to each party.

To begin a case in Small Claims Court, the first step is filing the correct paperwork.


Certain witnesses are allowed to testify in certain cases on matters which the judge or jury may not be able to understand clearly. Small Claims Courts have a means for allowing certain witnesses to come to court and testify about certain evidence, just as in regular court. These witnesses are often called expert witnesses.

Much of the evidence received in court is through witnesses. When you are deciding to sue, and you have an eye witness, be sure that you have that witness in court to testify. If a person saw the accident on which you are suing, either contact them to bring them to court, or subpoena them. The Small Claims Court clerk will tell you how to subpoena witnesses.

If you decide to sue in Small Claims Court, look at all you must overcome to win your case.

If you have decided that pursuing a small claims case is in your best interest, you must decide to see if it can be won with your evidence. If you need to fight an uphill battle, it may not be worth taking the case to court. Remember, the plaintiff, the person bringing the suit, has the burden of proving each element of their case.

What if you are the Defendant?

If someone files a lawsuit against you, remember that the burden of proof is on the plaintiff. The person suing you must produce evidence that shows that what he/she is arguing actually happened and that he/she was wronged in some manner. If the plaintiff fails to introduce this evidence you will win, no matter what actually happened.

Most Small Claims Courts have jurisdictional limits. That is, the Small Claims Courts will only accept cases in which the damages sued for are less than a certain amount. Contact your local Small Claims Court Clerk to make sure you are within the limit.


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