How to Effect Service on a Defendant in Hernando County Small Claims Court
Once a case is filed, the case cannot proceed until the Defendant has been served. 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. 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. This information can be obtained through the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations at 850-245-6052 or online at http://www.sunbiz.org. You also need to learn if the business is operating under a ficitious name. The fictitious name information can be obtained through the Department of State, Division of Corporations as well.
Can I have a jury in my Hernando 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 the plaintiff or defendant may request a jury trial. The plaintiff can request a jury trial at the time the case is initially filed, and the defendant can make a request for the same within five days of being served or at the pre-trial conference. (Small Claims Court Rule 7.150). If either of these do not occur, then the case will be tried in front of a judge.
Hernando 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, it will be set for trial on the judge’s trial docket. You need to make sure the Defendant has been served prior to the pre-trial conference or it will be cancelled by the court. Appearances at pre-trial conferences by both plaintiff and defendant 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. 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. The court may set different dates if there are multiple defendants to a single case. The plaintiff is still required to attend all of these pre-trial conferences.
What Jurisdiction does the Hernando County Small Claims Court Have?
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, then the Hernando 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. Claims up to $5,000.00 (not including interest, attorney fees, or costs) can be filed in small claims court. This is authorized under Rule 7.010 of the Florida Rules of Court and Chapter 34 of the Florida Statutes.
Cases that Cannot Be Filed in Hernando County Small Claims Court
Small Claims Court does not handle cases involving the following:
- traffic fines
Preparing to File a Hernando County Small Claims Court Case
Before you file a small claims court action in Hernando 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. There is a chance your issue can be resolved prior to filing your claim. This is the simplest and easiest way of resolving your case before the court system becomes involved (and will resolve it far quicker).
Hernando County Small Claims Court Courthouse
Small Claims cases can be filed at the Hernando County Courthouse which is located at: 20 N. Main Street Brooksville, FL 34601 The courthouse can be reached at: 352-754-4201.
How do I file a small claims court case in Hernando County?
The plaintiff needs to obtain and complete a Statement of Claim form which is found at the Hernando County Small Claims 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.
Hernando County Small Claims Court Costs and Fees
Costs for filing a small claims court case in Hernando 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. A person interested in filing a small claims court case should contact the Hernando County Clerk Court to ask about the fee for your specific case.
Who Can File a Small Claims Court Case in Hernando County?
The following people can file a small claims court case:
- 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)
Rules Governing Small Claims Court Cases in Hernando County
The procedures governing all small claims court cases in Florida are found in the Florida Small Claims Rules.