Who Can File a Small Claims Court Case in Marion County?
You can file a small claims court case if you are one of the following:
- Someone 18 years of age and older
- You are the parent or guardian of a minor and are filing on their behalf
- You are filing or acting on behalf of a corporation as an officer with prior written authorization
Types of Cases Not Handled in Marion County Small Claims Court
Marion County Small Claims Court handles all types of cases except:
- traffic fines
Marion County Small Claims Court Rules
The procedures governing all small claims court cases in Florida are found in the Florida Small Claims Rules.
How do I file a small claims court case in Marion County?
The plaintiff needs to obtain and complete a Statement of Claim form which is found at the Marion County Small Claims Court Clerk’s office. The form should be typed or printed with a pen to ensure it is legible.
What Jurisdiction does the Marion County Small Claims Court Have?
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 the above apply, then jurisdiction is not property in Marion County and the court will not be able 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 Marion County. This is authorized under Rule 7.010 of the Florida Rules of Court and Chapter 34 of the Florida Statutes.
Before Filing your Marion County Small Claims Court Case
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 best way to accomplish this is to write a short succint letter outling your position and deliver it to the other party. This may resolve your issue before you even have to file a case. Sending this initial communicaiton will be the simplest and most efficient way of resolving your case.
Are Jury Trials available in Marion County Small Claims Court Cases?
Even though it is small claims court, a jury trial is available. However, most small claims court cases are heard by a judge. Either the plaintiff or defendant may request 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.
Marion 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. 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. 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.
Marion County Small Claims Courthouse
Small Claims Court cases in Marion County can be filed at the Marion County Courthouse which is at: 110 N.W. 1st Avenue Ocala, FL 34475 The phone number for the courthouse is: 352-671-5604.
Serving a Defendant in Marion County Small Claims Court Cases
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. If the plaintiff is suing a business, you need to determine whether the business has 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. 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. 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.
Marion County Small Claims Court Fees and Costs
There are costs involved with filing a small claims court case in Marion 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 Marion County Court Clerk for the specific amount of the filing fee for your specific case.