Should I Go To Small Claims

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April 6, 2018

Should I Go to Small Claims Court?

If you have a case against another person or business but it might not justify the cost to hire an attorney, what is your recourse?  In Michigan, it’s an action in Small Claims Court.

In Michigan you cannot have an attorney represent you in Small Claims Court.  It is designed to be a streamlined system to handle smaller grievances – the most you can recover is $6,000.00.  Small claims matters can heard before a magistrate or a district court judge; there are no jury trials. No party is required to keep the claim in small claims court.  Either you or the other party has the option to have the case removed to District Court.

There a certain types of cases that you cannot bring in small claims court.  These include:

  • Claims involving relief other than money (i.e. possession, specific performance);
  • Fraud;
  • Libel/Slander;
  • Assault and battery;
  • Other intentional torts.

If you are considering filing a claim, you can get the Affidavit and Claim form from the District Court Clerk or online at http://courts.mi.gov/Administration/SCAO/Forms/Pages/District-Court-Index.aspx.

If a decision was entered against you by a magistrate in Small Claims Court, you have 7 days to file an appeal to a District Court judge.  If a judge hears your case, there is no further right of appeal.

Taking a case to Small Claims Court can be a quick and cost-effective way to resolve your legal disputes, but it isn’t for everyone.  If you need help deciding whether to pursue your legal matter in Small Claims Court, you can always consult with an attorney before you file a claim.

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