Who May File a Hardee County Small Claims Court Case?
A person can file a small claims court case in Florida if any of the following apply:
- Someone 18 years of age and older
- Parents or Guardians can file on behalf of a minor
- You are filing or acting on behalf of a corporation as an officer with prior written authorization
Hardee County Small Claims Court Courthouse
Small Claims Court cases in Hardee County can be filed at the Hardee County Courthouse which is at: 417 W. Main Street Wauchula, FL 33873 The courthouse can be reached at: 863-773-4174.
Rules Governing Small Claims Court Cases in Hardee County
All small claims court cases in Florida are governed by the Florida Small Claims Rules.
Preparing to File a Hardee County Small Claims Court Case
Before you file a small claims court action in Hardee County, you should communicate with the other party about what is exactly in dispute. The best way to accomplish this is to write a short succint letter outling your position and deliver it to the other party. This may resolve your issue before you even have to file a case. This will be the quickest and easiest way to resolve your dispute.
Pre-Trial Conferences for Hardee County Small Claims Court Cases
A pre-trial conference is an attempt to resolve or settle the case through a Mediation Agreement. 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. Appearance at the pre-trial conference is 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. At a pre-trial conference, a corporation can be represented by an officer of an employee if the employee has been designated by an officer. 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.
What Jurisdiction does the Hardee 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, 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. Claims up to $5,000.00 (not including interest, attorney fees, or costs) can be filed in small claims court. 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.
How do I file a small claims court case in Hardee County?
The party filing the case needs to complete a Statement of Claim form (which can be obtained from the Hardee Court Clerk’s Office). The form needs to be typed or printed with a pen to ensure the legibility.
What Types of Cases are Not Handled in Hardee County Small Claims Court?
Small Claims Court does not handle cases involving the following:
- alimony payments
- mortgage payments
- traffic fines
Can I have a jury in my Hardee County Small Claims Court Case?
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 the plaintiff or defendant request a jury trial, the case will be tried in front of a judge.
Hardee County Small Claims Court Costs and Fees
Costs for filing a small claims court case in Hardee 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 party obtains a judgment in its favor, these court costs can be added into the total amount of the judgment. A person interested in filing a small claims court case should contact the Hardee County Clerk Court to ask about the fee for your specific case.
Service of Defendant in a Hardee County Small Claims Case
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). It is very important that you have the full name of the individual you want to sue. You also need an address of where that person can be served. In order to sue a business, you must determine whether the business is incorporated. 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 Florida Department of Corporations can be used to research this as well.