Who May File a Liberty 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
- For corporations, an officer may file on behalf of the corporation provided there is written authorization
Liberty County Small Claims Court Courthouse
Small claims court cases can be filed at the Liberty County Courthouse which is located at: 10818 N.W. State Road 20 Bristol, FL 32321 The courthouse can be reached at: 850-643-2215.
Rules for Liberty Small Claims Court Cases
All small claims court cases in Florida are governed by the Florida Small Claims Rules.
Cases that Cannot Be Filed in Liberty County Small Claims Court
Liberty County Small Claims Court handles all types of cases except:
- mortgage payments
- traffic court fines
Liberty 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 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. 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 can be represented by any officer of the corporation or an employee that is so designated by an officer of that corporation. The court may set different dates if there are multiple defendants to a single case. But, the plaintiff is still required to attend every pre-trial conference.
Jury Trial in Small Claims Court in Liberty County
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. 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.
Filing a Small Claims Court Case in Liberty County Small Claims Court
The party filing the case needs to complete a Statement of Claim form (which can be obtained from the Liberty 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.
Court Costs and Fees for Liberty County Small Claims Court
There are costs involved with filing a small claims court case in Liberty County which include a filing fee and a service fee. If a party obtains a judgment in its favor, these court costs can be added into the total amount of the judgment. Contact the Liberty County Court Clerk for the specific amount of the filing fee for your specific case.
Serving a Defendant in Liberty County Small Claims Court Cases
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. 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. The plaintiff also needs to research whether a business is utilizing a fictitious business name. The Florida Department of Corporations can be used to research this as well.
Filing a Small Claims Court Case in Liberty 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, 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. A claim of up to $5,000.00, not including costs, interest, and attorneys fees, can be filed in small claims court in Liberty County. This is authorized under Rule 7.010 of the Florida Rules of Court and Chapter 34 of the Florida Statutes.
How to Prepare to File a Small Claims Court Case in Liberty County
Before filing a case, it is important that you attempt to discuss your case with the opposing party about what the actual issue is. 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.