Cases that Cannot Be Filed in Jefferson County Small Claims Court
Small Claims Court does not handle cases involving the following:
- alimony payments
- traffic fines
Jefferson County Small Claims Court Costs and Fees
The costs for filing a Small Claims case in Jefferson 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 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 Jefferson County Clerk Court to ask about the fee for your specific case.
Before Filing your Jefferson County Small Claims Court Case
Prior to filing a Jefferson 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. You may be able to resolve your case without going to court. This is the simplest and easiest way of resolving your case before the court system becomes involved (and will resolve it far quicker).
Jefferson County Small Claims Court Rules
The procedures governing all small claims court cases in Florida are found in the Florida Small Claims Rules.
Jefferson 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. 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. 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. 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. The court may set different dates if there are multiple defendants to a single case. If this occurs, the plaintiff is still requires to attend all the different pre-trial conference dates.
Jefferson County Small Claims Court Courthouse
Small claims court cases can be filed at the Jefferson County Courthouse which is located at: 1 Courthouse Circle Monticello, FL 32344 The courthouse can be reached at: 850-342-0218.
What Jurisdiction does the Jefferson 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. 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. Chapter 34 of the Florida Statutes and Rule 7.010 authorize the limit on small claims court cases.
Who May File a Jefferson County Small Claims Court Case?
A person can file a small claims court case in Florida if any of the following apply:
- A person 18 years of age or older
- Parents or Guardians can file on behalf of a minor
- A corporate officer on behalf of the corporation (requires written authorization)
Filing a Claim in Jefferson County Small Claims Court
The party filing the case needs to complete a Statement of Claim form (which can be obtained from the Jefferson Court Clerk’s Office). The form needs to be typed or printed with a pen to ensure the legibility.
Can I have a jury in my Jefferson County Small Claims Court Case?
Even though it is small claims court, a jury trial is available. 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 either of these do not occur, then the case will be tried in front of a judge.
Service of Defendant in a Jefferson County Small Claims Case
Once a case is filed, the Plaintiff needs to take steps to serve all the Defendants which were named in the case. It is very important that you have the full name of the individual you want to sue. The plaintiff also needs a good address of where those individuals can be served. In order to sue a business, you must determine whether the business is 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. This information can be learned from the Department of State, Department of Corporations website for Florida which can be found online at http://www.sunbiz.org or by telephone 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.