Who Can File a Small Claims Court Case in Madison County?
You can file a small claims court case if you are one of the following:
- You are 18 years or older
- A parent or guardian on behalf of anyone under 18
- You are filing or acting on behalf of a corporation as an officer with prior written authorization
Madison County Small Claims Court Courthouse
Small Claims Court cases in Madison County can be filed at the Madison County Courthouse which is at: 125 S.W. Range Avenue Madison, FL 32340 The phone number for the Madison County Court is: 850-973-1500.
Madison 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. 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 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.
Rules for Madison Small Claims Court Cases
All small claims court cases in Florida are governed by the Florida Small Claims Rules.
How to Effect Service on a Defendant in Madison County Small Claims Court
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). You need to knows the full name of the individual that you are suing. The plaintiff also needs a good address of where those individuals can be served. If you are suing a business, you need to ascertain whether the business is incorporated or not. 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. 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.
Before Filing your Madison County Small Claims Court Case
Before you file a small claims court action in Madison County, you should communicate with the other party about what is exactly in dispute. The best way to accomplish this is to write a short succint letter outling your position and deliver it to the other party. 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).
Filing a Claim in Madison County Small Claims Court
The plaintiff needs to obtain and complete a Statement of Claim form which is found at the Madison 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.
What Types of Cases are Not Handled in Madison County Small Claims Court?
Florida Small Claims Court cases cannot handle cases involving the following items:
- mortgage payments
- traffic fines
Madison County Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
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 Madison 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. A claim of up to $5,000.00, not including costs, interest, and attorneys fees, can be filed in small claims court in Madison County. Rule 7.010 of the Florida rules of Court and Chapter 34 of the Florida Statutes is what authorizes the claim limit for small claims court cases.
Can I have a jury in my Madison 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 party may make a request for 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 neither the plaintiff or defendant request a jury trial, the case will be tried in front of a judge.
Madison County Small Claims Court Fees and Costs
The costs for filing a Small Claims case in Madison 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. You should contact the Madison County Clerk Court to inquire about the specific amount of the filing fee for your case.