Small Claims Court
Filing a Suit in Small Claims Court
If you have a dispute with a person or business that you cannot resolve through mediation, you can file a claim against them in the Small Claims Division of District Court.
To start the case, you must file an Affidavit and Claim Form with the District Court. The Affidavit and Claim Form is available at the 81st District Court window in the Iosco County Building, or you can print it out from this website, fill it out, and take it to the court.
You must file your case in the city or county where the transaction or dispute took place, or where the person or business you are suing is located. If your complaint involves more than one person or business, the suit may be filed in the District Court where any of the persons live, or where any of the businesses operate.
The cost of filing a lawsuit in the Small Claims Division of District Court is $25 for claims up to $600; $45 for claims over $600 and up to $1,750; and $65 for claims over $1,750 and up to $3,000. The party filing the claim, also known as the plaintiff, is responsible for paying the filing fee and other required fees, which could include postage or service fees. Be prepared to pay all fees when you file your claim. In some cases, the amount of the fees may be included as part of the judgment against the defendant if the judge decides in your favor. Once you have filed your suit, the court will notify the other party that you have filed a lawsuit against them and the scheduled date of their court appearance.
In some cases, the defendant may offer to settle out of court after learning you have filed a suit. If you decide to settle your case out of court, you can either voluntarily dismiss your lawsuit or obtain a judgment. If you want an enforceable judgment, the terms of your agreement must be submitted in writing and signed by both the plaintiff and the defendant. A copy of the agreement must be filed with the court.
If You Have Been Sued in Small Claims Court
If you are served with court papers from the Small Claims Division of the District Court, you have several ways to respond to the affidavit and claim. If you want to deny the claim, you must either answer the complaint before the hearing date or appear in court on the hearing date. Be sure to bring any evidence you have to support your denial. If you want an attorney to represent you, please notify the court before the hearing, and the case will be transferred from the Small Claims Division to the regular District Court.
If you have a claim against the person who is suing you, you can also file a counterclaim. Your written counterclaim should be filed with the court and served by first-class mail to the person suing you.
You may also request that the case be moved from small claims to the general civil division of District Court by filing the Demand and Order for Removal form.
If you fail to appear for the hearing, the court may enter a default judgment against you, which means the judge may grant a judgment for the plaintiff without hearing your response to the complaint. If a default judgment has already been entered, you may file a Motion to Set Aside Default and Order within 21 days after the default was entered in a small claims case.
Know the Law
Small Claims Court Pamphlet