Gulf County Small Claims Court Fees and Costs
There are costs involved with filing a small claims court case in Gulf County which include a filing fee and a service fee. If a final judgment is entered in your favor, these costs can be added to the total amount of your judgment. A person interested in filing a small claims court case should contact the Gulf County Clerk Court to ask about the fee for your specific case.
Are Jury Trials available in Gulf County Small Claims Court Cases?
A jury trial is available in a small claims court case in Florida. A large majority of cases are handled and tried in front of a judge rather than a jury. 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.
Preparing to File a Gulf County Small Claims Court Case
Before filing a case, it is important that you attempt to discuss your case with the opposing party about what the actual issue is. 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.
Location for Small Claims Courthouse in Gulf County
Small Claims Court cases in Gulf County can be filed at the Gulf County Courthouse which is at: 1000 Cecil G. Costin, Sr. Blvd Port St. Joe, FL 32456 The phone number for the courthouse is: 850-229-6112.
Who Can File a Small Claims Court Case in Gulf County?
You can file a small claims court case if you are one of the following:
- A person 18 years of age or older
- A parent or guardian on behalf of anyone under 18
- A corporate officer on behalf of the corporation (requires written authorization)
Filing a Claim in Gulf County Small Claims Court
The plaintiff needs to obtain and complete a Statement of Claim form which is found at the Gulf County Small Claims Court Clerk’s office. The form needs to be typed or printed with a pen to ensure the legibility.
Rules Governing Small Claims Court Cases in Gulf County
Small Claims court cases in Gulf County are governed by the Florida Small Claims Rules.
Pre-Trial Conferences for Gulf 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 case cannot be settled, the court will set it for trial. It is important for the plaintiff to ensure that the Defendant (and all of them) have been served prior to the pre-trial conference, or the court will cancel the pre-trial conference date. 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 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. If this occurs, the plaintiff is still requires to attend all the different pre-trial conference dates.
Gulf 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, the court would not have jurisdiction and would be unable to hear your case. This may open a judgment you obtain to attack when you try to collect it. Small Claims court cases in Gulf 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 Gulf County Small Claims Court Cases
Once a case is filed, the case cannot proceed until the Defendant has been served. You need to knows the full name of the individual that you are suing. The plaintiff also needs a good address of where those individuals 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. 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.
What Types of Cases are Not Handled in Gulf County Small Claims Court?
Gulf County Small Claims Court handles all types of cases except:
- mortgage payments
- traffic fines