Preparing to File a Miami-Dade County Small Claims Court Case
Prior to filing a Miami-Dade 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. There is a chance your issue can be resolved prior to filing your claim. Sending this initial communicaiton will be the simplest and most efficient way of resolving your case.
Miami-Dade County Small Claims Court Courthouse
Small Claims cases can be filed at the Miami-Dade County Courthouse which is located at: 73 W. Flagler Street Miami, FL 33130 The phone number for the Miami-Dade County Court is: 305-349-7333.
Miami-Dade County Small Claims Court Rules
Small Claims court cases in Miami-Dade County are governed by the Florida Small Claims Rules.
Miami-Dade County Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
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, then the Miami-Dade 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. Small Claims court cases in Miami-Dade County can hear cases concerning claims up to $5,000.00 (with costs, attorneys fees and interests added on top of that). 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.
Cases that Cannot Be Filed in Miami-Dade County Small Claims Court
Small Claims Court does not handle cases involving the following:
- alimony payments
- traffic fines
Serving a Defendant in Miami-Dade 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. You need to knows the full name of the individual that you are suing. You also need an address of where that person can be served. If the plaintiff is suing a business, you need to determine whether the business has incorporated. If the business has incorporated, the plaintiff needs to ascertain 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 Department of Corporations can assist you with this.
Pre-Trial Conferences for Miami-Dade 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. 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. Whoever appears must have full authority to settle the case otherwise costs and attorney fees incurred by the opposing party may be imposed. 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. Multiple defendants may have pre-trial conferences set on different dates. If this occurs, the plaintiff is still requires to attend all the different pre-trial conference dates.
Who Can File a Small Claims Court Case in Miami-Dade County?
The following people can file a small claims court case:
- A person 18 years of age 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
Miami-Dade County Small Claims Court Costs and Fees
The costs for filing a Small Claims case in Miami-Dade 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 prevails in the case, it can add the costs and fees into the judgment and recover for those costs as well. A person interested in filing a small claims court case should contact the Miami-Dade County Clerk Court to ask about the fee for your specific case.
Filing a Claim in Miami-Dade County Small Claims Court
The party filing the case needs to complete a Statement of Claim form (which can be obtained from the Miami-Dade 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.
Jury Trial in Small Claims Court in Miami-Dade County
Even though it is small claims court, a jury trial is available. 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.