Filing a Small Claims Court Case in Holmes County
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, then the Holmes County Small Claims Court will not have proper jurisdiction to hear the case. This may open a judgment you obtain to attack when you try to collect it. Small Claims court cases in Holmes County can hear cases concerning claims up to $5,000.00 (with costs, attorneys fees and interests added on top of that). This is authorized under Rule 7.010 of the Florida Rules of Court and Chapter 34 of the Florida Statutes.
Pre-Trial Conferences for Holmes County Small Claims Court Cases
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 pre-trial conference is not successful in resolving your case, the court will set it for trial. You need to make sure the Defendant has been served prior to the pre-trial conference or it will be cancelled by the court. 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. But, the plaintiff is still required to attend every pre-trial conference.
Holmes County Small Claims Court Rules
The procedures governing all small claims court cases in Florida are found in the Florida Small Claims Rules.
Preparing to File a Holmes County Small Claims Court Case
Before you file a small claims court action in Holmes 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 will be the quickest and easiest way to resolve your dispute.
Holmes County Small Claims Court Fees and Costs
The costs for filing a Small Claims case in Holmes 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 Holmes County Court Clerk for the specific amount of the filing fee for your specific case.
Can I have a jury in my Holmes County Small Claims Court Case?
A jury trial is available in a small claims court case in Florida. However, most small claims court cases are heard by a judge. Either the plaintiff or defendant may request 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.
Who is Able to File a Case in Holmes County Small Claims Court?
A person can file a small claims court case in Florida if any of the following apply:
- You are 18 years 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 Holmes County Small Claims Court
The party filing the case needs to complete a Statement of Claim form (which can be obtained from the Holmes 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.
Serving a Defendant in Holmes 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). 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 the plaintiff is suing a business, you need to determine whether the business has incorporated. If a corporation is being sued, you must have the full name of the corporation and the name and address of a corporate officer or registered agent for the business. 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 fictitious name information can be obtained through the Department of State, Division of Corporations as well.
Location for Small Claims Courthouse in Holmes County
Small Claims Court cases in Holmes County can be filed at the Holmes County Courthouse which is at: 201 N. Oklahoma Street Bonifay, FL 32425 The phone number for the Holmes County Court is: 850-547-1100.
Cases that Cannot Be Filed in Holmes County Small Claims Court
Florida Small Claims Court cases cannot handle cases involving the following items:
- traffic fines