DeSoto County Small Claims Court, Florida


What Types of Cases are Not Handled in DeSoto County Small Claims Court?

Small Claims Court does not handle cases involving the following:

  • alimony payments
  • mortgage payments
  • traffic fines

Court Costs and Fees for DeSoto County Small Claims Court

Costs for filing a small claims court case in DeSoto County consist of the filing fee (which is based on the amount of money you are seeking in your claim) and a service fee for bringing each defendant to court. If a final judgment is entered in your favor, these costs can be added to the total amount of your judgment. Contact the DeSoto County Court Clerk for the specific amount of the filing fee for your specific case.

Filing a Small Claims Court Case in DeSoto County Small Claims Court

The party filing the case needs to complete a Statement of Claim form (which can be obtained from the DeSoto Court Clerk’s Office). The form should be typed or printed with a pen to ensure it is legible.

DeSoto County Small Claims Court Rules

The procedures governing all small claims court cases in Florida are found in the Florida Small Claims Rules.

Can I have a jury in my DeSoto County Small Claims Court Case?

A jury trial is available in a small claims court case in Florida. Even though a jury trial is available, the large majority of small claims court cases are heard in front of a judge. The plaintiff or defendant can both make a request for a jury trial. Small Claims Court Rule 7.150 allows for a jury trial upon written demand of the plaintiff (when the suit is filed) or defendant within five days after being served with notice of the suit or at the pre-trial conference. If neither the plaintiff or defendant request a jury trial, the case will be tried in front of a judge.

Pre-Trial Conferences for DeSoto County Small Claims Court Cases

The pre-trial conference is a way for the court to try and resolve your case without a trial (often through informal mediation). If the pre-trial conference is not successful in resolving your case, the court will set it for trial. You need to make sure the Defendant has been served prior to the pre-trial conference or it will be cancelled by the court. Pre-trial conference appearances are mandatory. Persons representing parties must have full settlement authority otherwise the court may impose court costs and attorney fees on the party failing to comply with this rule. A corporation can be represented by any officer of the corporation or an employee that is so designated by an officer of that corporation. Multiple defendants may have pre-trial conferences set on different dates. If this occurs, the plaintiff is still requires to attend all the different pre-trial conference dates.

Who is Able to File a Case in DeSoto County Small Claims Court?

The following people can file a small claims court case:

  • You are 18 years or older
  • Parents or Guardians can file on behalf of a minor
  • For corporations, an officer may file on behalf of the corporation provided there is written authorization

How to Prepare to File a Small Claims Court Case in DeSoto County

DeSoto County Small Claims Court

DeSoto County Small Claims Court

Prior to filing a DeSoto County Small Claims Court case, you should try and discuss with the opposing party about what is actually being contested. The best way to accomplish this is to write a short succint letter outling your position and deliver it to the other party. There is a chance your issue can be resolved prior to filing your claim. This will be the quickest and easiest way to resolve your dispute.

DeSoto County Small Claims Courthouse

Small Claims cases can be filed at the DeSoto County Courthouse which is located at: 115 E. Oak Street Arcadia, FL 34255 The phone number for the courthouse is: 863-993-4878.

DeSoto County Small Claims Court Jurisdiction

In Florida, a small claims court case can only be filed in the county where the incident giving rise to the claim occurred, the property involved in the case sits, or where the Defendant lives. If none of these apply, then the DeSoto County Small Claims Court will not have proper jurisdiction to hear the case. This may open a judgment you obtain to attack when you try to collect it. Small Claims court cases in DeSoto County can hear cases concerning claims up to $5,000.00 (with costs, attorneys fees and interests added on top of that). Rule 7.010 of the Florida rules of Court and Chapter 34 of the Florida Statutes is what authorizes the claim limit for small claims court cases.

Serving a Defendant in DeSoto County Small Claims Court Cases

Once a case is filed, the Plaintiff needs to take steps to serve all the Defendants which were named in the case. The plaintiff needs to know the full names of all the individuals you are suing. The plaintiff also needs a good address of where those individuals can be served. In order to sue a business, you must determine whether the business is incorporated. If a corporation is being sued, you must have the full name of the corporation and the name and address of a corporate officer or registered agent for the business. The plaintiff can search for this information on the Florida Department of State, Department of Corporation websites at http://www.sunbiz.org or by phone at 850-245-6052. If a business has a fictitious name, you will need to obtain that as well. The fictitious name information can be obtained through the Department of State, Division of Corporations as well.