Flagler County Small Claims Court Pre-Trial Conference
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, the court will set it for trial. The plaintiff needs to serve the Defendant before the pre-trial conference or the court will take the pre-trial conference off calendar. Appearance at the pre-trial conference is mandatory. A person representing someone else at a pre-trial conference needs to have full settlement authority otherwise the court may award court costs and attorneys fees against a party that does not comply with this. 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. The plaintiff is still required to attend all of these pre-trial conferences.
Location for Small Claims Courthouse in Flagler County
Small Claims Court cases in Flagler County can be filed at the Flagler County Courthouse which is at: 1769 E. Moody Boulevard Bunnell, FL 32110 The phone number for the courthouse is: 386-313-4400.
Flagler County Small Claims Court Costs and Fees
Costs for filing a small claims court case in Flagler 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 Flagler County Court Clerk for the specific amount of the filing fee for your specific case.
Rules for Flagler Small Claims Court Cases
The procedures governing all small claims court cases in Florida are found in the Florida Small Claims Rules.
Who Can File a Small Claims Court Case in Flagler County?
You can file a small claims court case if you are one of the following:
- You are 18 years or older
- Parents or Guardians can file on behalf of a minor
- A corporate officer on behalf of the corporation (requires written authorization)
Filing a Small Claims Court Case in Flagler County Small Claims Court
The party filing the case needs to complete a Statement of Claim form (which can be obtained from the Flagler Court Clerk’s Office). The form needs to be typed or printed with a pen to ensure the legibility.
Jury Trial in Small Claims Court in Flagler County
Jury trials are available in small claims court cases in Florida. However, most small claims court cases are heard by 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 of these occur, the case will be tried to a judge.
Serving a Defendant in Flagler 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. It is very important that you have the full name of the individual you want to sue. You also need to a good 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 has incorporated, the plaintiff needs to ascertain 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. The plaintiff also needs to research whether a business is utilizing a fictitious business name. The Department of Corporations can assist you with this.
Types of Cases Not Handled in Flagler County Small Claims Court
Flagler County Small Claims Court handles all types of cases except:
- alimony payments
- traffic fines
How to Prepare to File a Small Claims Court Case in Flagler County
Before you file a small claims court action in Flagler County, you should communicate with the other party about what is exactly in dispute. The easiest way for this is to draft and deliver a letter to the other party which succintly details your complaint. You may be able to resolve your case without going to court. This will be the quickest and easiest way to resolve your dispute.
Flagler County Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
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, the court would not have jurisdiction and would be unable to hear your 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. A claim of up to $5,000.00, not including costs, interest, and attorneys fees, can be filed in small claims court in Flagler County. Chapter 34 of the Florida Statutes and Rule 7.010 authorize the limit on small claims court cases.