Pre-Trial Conferences for Duval County Small Claims Court Cases
The pre-trial conference is used for the court to attempt to see if your case can be resolved without a trial. This is usually done with an informal settlement conference or mediation. If the case cannot be settled, it will be set for trial on the judge’s trial docket. The plaintiff needs to serve the Defendant before the pre-trial conference or the court will take the pre-trial conference off calendar. 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 may be represented at the pre-trial conference by an officer of the corporation or any employee authorized by an officer of the corporation. Depending on how many defendants are involved in a case and when each defendant was served, the court may schedule different dates for pre-trial conferences on the same case. The plaintiff is still required to attend all of these pre-trial conferences.
Duval County Small Claims Court Rules
Small Claims court cases in Duval County are governed by the Florida Small Claims Rules.
Can I have a jury in my Duval 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. Either party may make a request for a jury trial. Pursuant to Small Claims Court Rule 7.150, the plaintiff can file a written demand for a jury trial when filing the suit, and a defendant can request a jury trial either within five days of being served notice of the action 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.
What Types of Cases are Not Handled in Duval County Small Claims Court?
Florida Small Claims Court cases cannot handle cases involving the following items:
- traffic fines
Serving a Defendant in Duval 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. You also need an address of where that person can be served. If you are suing a business, you need to ascertain whether the business is incorporated or not. If the business you are suing is incorporated, you need to learn the full name of the corporation and the name and address of a corporate officer or registered agent. 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. You also need to learn if the business is operating under a ficitious name. The Florida Department of Corporations can be used to research this as well.
Duval County Small Claims Court Courthouse
Small claims court cases can be filed at the Duval County Courthouse which is located at: 501 W. Adams Street Jacksonville, FL 32202 The phone number for the Duval County Court is: 904-255-2000.
Filing a Small Claims Court Case in Duval County Small Claims Court
The plaintiff needs to obtain and complete a Statement of Claim form which is found at the Duval County Small Claims Court Clerk’s office. The form should be typed or printed with a pen to ensure it is legible.
How to Prepare to File a Small Claims Court Case in Duval County
Before you file a small claims court action in Duval County, you should communicate with the other party about what is exactly in dispute. The best way to do this is to send a letter which clearly states your complaint. There is a chance your issue can be resolved prior to filing your claim. Sending this initial communicaiton will be the simplest and most efficient way of resolving your case.
Duval County Small Claims Court Costs and Fees
Costs for filing a small claims court case in Duval 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 Duval County Court Clerk for the specific amount of the filing fee for your specific case.
What Jurisdiction does the Duval County Small Claims Court Have?
In Florida, you can only file a small claims court action in the county where the Defendant lives, where the situation giving rise to the action occurred, or where the property involved is situated. If none of these apply, then the Duval County Small Claims Court will not have proper jurisdiction to hear the case. If the court does not have jurisdiction, this would allow the judgment you obtain to be attacked by the defendant afterwards when you begin to collect it. Small Claims court cases in Duval 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.
Who May File a Duval County Small Claims Court Case?
The following people can file a small claims court case:
- You are 18 years or older
- You are the parent or guardian of a minor and are filing on their behalf
- A corporate officer on behalf of the corporation (requires written authorization)