Who Can File a Small Claims Court Case in Orange County?
A person can file a small claims court case in Florida if any of the following apply:
- A person 18 years of age or older
- Parents or Guardians can file on behalf of a minor
- A corporate officer on behalf of the corporation (requires written authorization)
Orange County Small Claims Court Pre-Trial Conference
The pre-trial conference is a way for the court to try and resolve your case without a trial (often through informal mediation). 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. Appearance at the pre-trial conference is 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 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.
Orange County Small Claims Court Rules
All small claims court cases in Florida are governed by the Florida Small Claims Rules.
How do I file a small claims court case in Orange County?
You need to contact the Orange Clerk’s Office and obtain and complete a Statement of Claim form. 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.
Location for Small Claims Courthouse in Orange County
Small claims court cases can be filed at the Orange County Courthouse which is located at: 425 N. Orange Avenue Orlando, FL 32801 The courthouse can be reached at: 407-836-2000.
Are Jury Trials available in Orange County Small Claims Court Cases?
Jury trials are available in small claims court cases 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. 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.
Before Filing your Orange County Small Claims Court Case
Prior to filing a Orange County Small Claims Court case, you should try and discuss with the opposing party about what is actually being contested. The best way to accomplish this is to write a short succint letter outling your position and deliver it to the other party. You may be able to resolve your case without going to court. 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 Small Claims Court Case in Orange 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, then the Orange County Small Claims Court will not have proper jurisdiction to hear the case. If this occurs, you risk obtaining a judgment that can then be challenged and attacked by the defendant after the case when you begin to collect it (which would mean you would have to start all over in the proper county). Claims up to $5,000.00 (not including interest, attorney fees, or costs) can be filed in small claims court. 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.
What Types of Cases are Not Handled in Orange County Small Claims Court?
Orange County Small Claims Court handles all types of cases except:
- traffic fines
Serving a Defendant in Orange 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 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 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. 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.
Orange County Small Claims Court Fees and Costs
Costs for filing a small claims court case in Orange County consist of the filing fee (which is based on the amount of money you are seeking in your claim) and a service fee for bringing each defendant to court. If a party obtains a judgment in its favor, these court costs can be added into the total amount of the judgment. Contact the Orange County Court Clerk for the specific amount of the filing fee for your specific case.