Who May File a Small Claim

A party who sues another party is called the Plaintiff. The party being sued is called the Defendant. There can be more than one plaintiff or defendant in the same action. An example would be when a husband and wife sue another husband and wife.

The following table has been prepared to help you determine if you are the proper person to file the claim.

Plaintiff is - Who may file and appear in court
Individual - Any adult may file and appear on his own behalf
Partnership - Any partner or full-time employee
Proprietorship - The proprietor or full-time employee
Corporation - Any officer or full-time employee

Points to Consider

The Court is only a tool that is available to you for settling disputes or establishing and reducing your claims to judgment. You are responsible for locating the parties, determining your course of action, gathering your witnesses and evidence. While the staff of this Court will try to help either party to an action, you must understand that:

  1. Our clerks are not attorneys and they cannot give legal advice.
  2. The Judges/Magistrate, who are attorneys, may not and will not give advice on matters they may have to rule on.
  3. This Court can render money judgments only, and has no power to force anyone to do something or to stop doing something.

By having your case tried in Small Claims Division, you give up the following rights:

  1. The right to have an attorney.
  2. The right to appeal to a higher court.
  3. The right to a jury trial.

However, the defendant may not choose to give up these rights. If he refuses, he can demand before or at the time of the hearing, that the case be transferred to the General Civil Division. Then, either side may hire an attorney, request a trial, and have the right of appeal.

(Note: If matter is removed from Small Claims, Corporations and Partnerships must be represented by an Attorney.)