Indian River County Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
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. 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. A claim of up to $5,000.00, not including costs, interest, and attorneys fees, can be filed in small claims court in Indian River County. This is authorized under Rule 7.010 of the Florida Rules of Court and Chapter 34 of the Florida Statutes.
Pre-Trial Conferences for Indian River 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. The plaintiff needs to serve the Defendant before the pre-trial conference or the court will take the pre-trial conference off calendar. Pre-trial conference appearances are 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.
Indian River County Small Claims Court Fees and Costs
There are costs involved with filing a small claims court case in Indian River 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. Contact the Indian River County Court Clerk for the specific amount of the filing fee for your specific case.
Filing a Claim in Indian River County Small Claims Court
You need to contact the Indian River Clerk’s Office and obtain and complete a Statement of Claim form. The form should be typed or printed with a pen to ensure it is legible.
How to Prepare to File a Small Claims Court Case in Indian River County
Prior to filing a Indian River 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. 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.
Types of Cases Not Handled in Indian River County Small Claims Court
Small Claims Court does not handle cases involving the following:
- traffic fines
Who Can File a Small Claims Court Case in Indian River County?
The following people can file a small claims court case:
- 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)
Indian River County Small Claims Court Rules
Small Claims court cases in Indian River County are governed by the Florida Small Claims Rules.
Service of Defendant in a Indian River County Small Claims Case
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 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 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. If a business has a fictitious name, you will need to obtain that as well. The Department of Corporations can assist you with this.
Indian River County Small Claims Courthouse
Small Claims cases can be filed at the Indian River County Courthouse which is located at: 2000 16th Avenue Vero Beach, FL 32960 The phone number for the courthouse is: 772-770-5185.
Are Jury Trials available in Indian River County Small Claims Court Cases?
Even though it is small claims court, a jury trial is available. Even though a jury trial is available, the large majority of small claims court cases are heard in front of a judge. The plaintiff or defendant can both make a request for 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.