Small Claims

If you feel an individual or a business owes you money, you can bring a lawsuit against that person or business in the Small Claims division of the District Court.

The Small Claims court is designed to quickly decide disputes involving amounts of $6,000.00 or less.  In small claims you give up your right to a jury trial, to be represented by an attorney and your right to an appeal beyond this court.

The simple fact that the court decides in your favor does not automatically mean that the defendant will pay the judgment and costs. The court can only award judgment for money. You may have to take additional legal steps (ie. garnishment of wages) to obtain your money, and in the end, success in collecting may depend upon whether the other party has the money to pay you.

What Can I Sue for in Small Claims Court?  You can sue only for money damages in Small Claims court, up to $6,000.00. You may have a valid claim for more than $6,000.00, but a judgment in Small Claims court cannot exceed $6,000.00.

You may also file a Small Claim for up to $1,000.00 due to an automobile accident under the Michigan No Fault law. You may file for more than $1,000.00 if you can prove that the defendant has no insurance.  You will need a letter from the insurance company stating that the defendant is not insured.  This letter MUST accompany your Small Claims form. 

If you are filing for damages due to an accident, a copy of the police report and an estimate of the damage to your car is also required.

When you file in small claims court, you give up or waive the following rights:
  • The right to be represented by an attorney
  • The right to have a jury trial
  • The right to appeal the final decision of the court (unless the case is heard by an attorney/magistrate)

 Collecting your Money

If you obtain a judgment, you may not be assured that you will be paid.  You may have to pursue collection remedies. Please see below:

Showcause Hearing:  If the defendant does not pay the judgment, begin to pay the judgment or complete the "affidavit of judgment debtor" form that is mailed to the defendant with the judgment within 21 days of the date of the judgment, the plaintiff may submit a request in writing to the court requesting that a show cause hearing be scheduled.

 Frequently Asked Questions