Cases that Cannot Be Filed in Martin County Small Claims Court
Florida Small Claims Court cases cannot handle cases involving the following items:
- traffic court fines
Martin County Small Claims Court Rules
All small claims court cases in Florida are governed by the Florida Small Claims Rules.
How to Effect Service on a Defendant in Martin County Small Claims Court
Once a case is filed, the Plaintiff needs to take steps to serve all the Defendants which were named in the case. You need to knows the full name of the individual that you are suing. 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. 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.
Preparing to File a Martin County Small Claims Court Case
Prior to filing a Martin County Small Claims Court case, you should try and discuss with the opposing party about what is actually being contested. The best way to do this is to send a letter which clearly states your complaint. This may resolve your issue before you even have to file a case. This is the simplest and easiest way of resolving your case before the court system becomes involved (and will resolve it far quicker).
How do I file a small claims court case in Martin County?
The party filing the case needs to complete a Statement of Claim form (which can be obtained from the Martin 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 Jurisdiction does the Martin County Small Claims Court Have?
In Florida, a small claims court case can only be filed in the county where the incident giving rise to the claim occurred, the property involved in the case sits, or where the Defendant lives. If none of these apply, then the Martin 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 Martin 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.
Location for Small Claims Courthouse in Martin County
Small Claims Court cases in Martin County can be filed at the Martin County Courthouse which is at: 100 E. Ocean Boulevard Stuart, FL 34994 The phone number for the Martin County Court is: 772-288-5735.
Jury Trial in Small Claims Court in Martin County
A jury trial is available in a small claims court case in Florida. However, most small claims court cases are heard by a judge. Either party may 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 the plaintiff or defendant request a jury trial, the case will be tried in front of a judge.
Pre-Trial Conferences for Martin County Small Claims Court Cases
A pre-trial conference is an attempt to resolve or settle the case through a Mediation Agreement. If the case cannot be settled, the court will set it for trial. 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. At a pre-trial conference, a corporation can be represented by an officer of an employee if the employee has been designated by an officer. 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.
Martin County Small Claims Court Fees and Costs
The costs for filing a Small Claims case in Martin 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 party obtains a judgment in its favor, these court costs can be added into the total amount of the judgment. You should contact the Martin County Clerk Court to inquire about the specific amount of the filing fee for your case.
Who May File a Martin County Small Claims Court Case?
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