Illinois Attorney General Small Claims Court

filing fee

Thus, you can sue the designer in Maine small claims court if you can serve your court papers on the designer within Maine’s borders. If you are not represented by a lawyer, you can go to Maine Courts Guide & File “Start a New Filingand choose “Small Claims” as the type of filing. Go through the Guide & File interview to complete the forms online and eFile them with the Bangor District Court. EFiling is not currently available for cases in other district courts. If a settlement is agreed to, the parties should notify the court prior to the time set for trial and the case will be dismissed or a judgment entered according to your agreement.

Can I sue a business in my local small claims court?

With certain exceptions, anyone can sue or be sued in small claims court. Generally, all parties must represent themselves. An individual can sue another individual or a business.

You waive your rights to a jury trial in this court. Please note, this is a guide only, and is not meant to include every step of the Small Claims Court process. For legal advice, consult with a private attorney. The business may offer you a settlement in response to your 30-day demand letter.

Preparing to File Your Small Claims Lawsuit Against a Company

Landlord/tenant rent deposit disputes, property damage, car accidents and recovery of money owed are the most common reasons people file small claims suits. Apart from a few restrictions, almost any dispute can be taken to small claims court, provided the amount of money requested falls within the maximum allowed by state law. Small Claims sessions are conducted in every Massachusetts District Court, the Boston Municipal Court, and the Boston Housing Court. Each District Court is informally identified by the name of the city or town where it is located. The Plaintiff has the option to file suit in the District court where either the Plaintiff or Defendant lives or has her/his place of business or employment. In landlord-tenant disputes, the Plaintiff could sue in the district where the property is located.

How much does small claims court cost in MA?

The filing fee for small claims of $500 and under is $40. The filing fee for claims of $501 to $2000 is $50. The filing fee for claims of $2001 to $5000 is $100. The filing fee for claims of $5001 to $7000 is $150.

Known popularly as the people’s court, small claims court is an informal and inexpensive forum to help you settle disputes of $7,000 or less. Small claims courts operate only during normal business hours. Consequently, people may have to take time off from work to attend court hearings. Before you get into court, be sure you have all your facts straight. Organize all documents relating to your case (written warranties, canceled checks, receipts, leases, copies of your written requests for payment, etc.). You may want to talk to an attorney if you think you need to name a corporation as a defendant in your claim.

Completing the Forms

The detailed How To Sue A Business In Small Claims Court for small claims court vary from state to state. However, the procedure is much the same no matter where you are. This overview will give you an idea of what to expect when you file a suit in small claims court. Many courts require that both parties attend a pre-trial hearing. At the pre-trial hearing, you can only bring documents, not witnesses, to prove your case.

  • The judge may then decide Defendant must pay what you claimed and proved they owe you.
  • It is your responsibility to make sure that you are suing the proper and necessary party in the correct name.
  • If you do decide to file a lawsuit in justice court, information on how to do so can be found in this guide.
  • In small claims court, both plaintiff and defendant usually represent themselves, although some states allow parties to be represented by an attorney.
  • A post office box number is not enough for service.

If you are mailing it to Defendant, mail it at least 13 days before the court date. If you cannot meet this deadline, go back to the clerk. When you get the Return Receipt with Defendant’s signature , make a copy. You have the right to a trial by a jury and to be represented by an attorney of your choice, or to represent yourself. As the plaintiff, you will have the opportunity to begin.

Collecting the Judgment

Before you pay for help, check to see if the Self-Help Center has the information and resources you need. You can also sign up for a FREE small claims class, offered in both English and Spanish. Click to visit Free Classes for more information. If you are considering filing a small claims case, you may be interested in a FREE time-saving alternative called the Neighborhood Justice Center .

  • If you file a case, you are called the Plaintiff.
  • Your former landlord refuses to return the security deposit you paid.
  • The limit to the amount that a person can sue for in small claims cases is $20,000.
  • The business may offer you a settlement in response to your 30-day demand letter.
  • You must prove you had Defendant served with the Notice of Small Claim.
  • If you haven’t done so before suing, why not try?

For example, in California, you have four years to make a claim on a written contract, and three years to file for property damage. The statute of limitations on oral contracts and personal injury is a little shorter. Trials in the small claims division of a General District Court are conducted in an informal manner.

District, Housing, and Boston Municipal Courts

In some cases mediation is offered before the case is heard by a judge. Court staff will inform you of this option in your county. A small claims judgment is a debt owed through the court.


A debt collector can’t sue a debtor in Small Claims Court. Only the original parties to a transaction can sue in Small Claims Court. You can file a case in Small Claims Court for a partnership if you are a partner. This is a business that is not a corporation, but is owned by two or more people.

Understanding Small Claims Court in California

All testimony is given under oath, which means that the person testifying promises to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, to the best of his or her recollection and belief. The plaintiff has to show by testimony and other evidence that the defendant is liable for the money being sued for. Both parties will get a Notice of Small Claims Hearing from the clerk’s office with the date, time, and location of their small claims case by mail. A judge or magistrate must hear and decide your case.

  • Full-time mechanics with several years of experience qualify as experts.
  • If there are multiple persons involved, there may be additional filing charges.
  • Ideally, the judgment debtor will pay immediately.
  • For example, a suit to collect money owed on a contract must be brought within four years.
  • Legal disputes can be very frustrating for consumers.
  • If you miss the trial, and Defendant filed and served a Counterclaim against you, you might lose the Counterclaim automatically, too.

You can only sue for money in Small Claims Court. The amount of your claim should include both the actual damage done and any additional costs incurred due to the damage, such as taxi fares, postage, photocopying, and court costs. If you have sent the 30 day demand letter and were not able to fix the problem with the business, you can sue the business. You may want to get legal advice if you’re going to court. Before you can begin the process of suing a business, you need to find out if you have an eligible claim under the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Law. Next, you must send a detailed 30 day demand letter that lets the business know about your complaint.