Are Jury Trials available in Gilchrist County Small Claims Court Cases?
Jury trials are available in small claims court cases in Florida. A large majority of cases are handled and tried in front of a judge rather than a jury. Either the plaintiff or defendant may request 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 of these occur, the case will be tried to a judge.
What Jurisdiction does the Gilchrist County Small Claims Court Have?
In Florida, small claims court actions can only be filed in the county where the Defendant lives, where the incident giving rise to the action occurred, or where the property involved is located. If none of these apply, the court would not have jurisdiction and would be unable to hear your case. If this occurs, you risk obtaining a judgment that can then be challenged and attacked by the defendant after the case when you begin to collect it (which would mean you would have to start all over in the proper county). Small Claims court cases in Gilchrist County can hear cases concerning claims up to $5,000.00 (with costs, attorneys fees and interests added on top of that). Chapter 34 of the Florida Statutes and Rule 7.010 authorize the limit on small claims court cases.
Gilchrist County Small Claims Court Fees and Costs
The costs for filing a Small Claims case in Gilchrist County include the filing fee, which is based on the amount of your claim, as well as a service fee for summoning each party to court. If a party obtains a judgment in its favor, these court costs can be added into the total amount of the judgment. Contact the Gilchrist County Court Clerk for the specific amount of the filing fee for your specific case.
Serving a Defendant in Gilchrist County Small Claims Court Cases
After the filing a case, the Defendant needs to be served (the court cannot move forward with the case until service of all Defendants has been completed). You need to knows the full name of the individual that you are suing. You also need an address of where that person can be served. If the plaintiff is suing a business, you need to determine whether the business has incorporated. 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. 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.
Who is Able to File a Case in Gilchrist County Small Claims Court?
You can file a small claims court case if you are one of the following:
- Someone 18 years of age and older
- Parents or Guardians can file on behalf of a minor
- A corporate officer on behalf of the corporation (requires written authorization)
Rules Governing Small Claims Court Cases in Gilchrist County
The procedures governing all small claims court cases in Florida are found in the Florida Small Claims Rules.
Before Filing your Gilchrist County Small Claims Court Case
Prior to filing a Gilchrist County Small Claims Court case, you should try and discuss with the opposing party about what is actually being contested. 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 is the simplest and easiest way of resolving your case before the court system becomes involved (and will resolve it far quicker).
Filing a Claim in Gilchrist County Small Claims Court
The party filing the case needs to complete a Statement of Claim form (which can be obtained from the Gilchrist Court Clerk’s Office). You should type or print your claim on the form using a pen to make sure it’s legible to the defendant as well as the court.
Pre-Trial Conferences for Gilchrist County Small Claims Court Cases
A pre-trial conference is an attempt to resolve or settle the case through a Mediation Agreement. If the pre-trial conference is not successful in resolving your case, 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. Whoever appears must have full authority to settle the case otherwise costs and attorney fees incurred by the opposing party may be imposed. A corporation can be represented by any officer of the corporation or an employee that is so designated by an officer of that 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. If this occurs, the plaintiff is still requires to attend all the different pre-trial conference dates.
Gilchrist County Small Claims Courthouse
Small Claims cases can be filed at the Gilchrist County Courthouse which is located at: 112 S. Main Street Trenton, FL 32693 The phone number for the courthouse is: 352-463-3170.
What Types of Cases are Not Handled in Gilchrist County Small Claims Court?
Small Claims Court does not handle cases involving the following:
- mortgage payments
- traffic fines