Who May File a Santa Rosa County Small Claims Court Case?
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
- For corporations, an officer may file on behalf of the corporation provided there is written authorization
Santa Rosa County Small Claims Court Costs and Fees
Costs for filing a small claims court case in Santa Rosa 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 Santa Rosa County Court Clerk for the specific amount of the filing fee for your specific case.
Filing a Small Claims Court Case in Santa Rosa County Small Claims Court
The plaintiff needs to obtain and complete a Statement of Claim form which is found at the Santa Rosa County Small Claims Court Clerk’s office. The form should be typed or printed with a pen to ensure it is legible.
Pre-Trial Conferences for Santa Rosa 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, 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. Appearance at the pre-trial conference is mandatory. Whoever appears must have full authority to settle the case otherwise costs and attorney fees incurred by the opposing party may be imposed. A corporation can be represented by any officer of the corporation or an employee that is so designated by an officer of that 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. But, the plaintiff is still required to attend every pre-trial conference.
Filing a Small Claims Court Case in Santa Rosa 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 the above apply, then jurisdiction is not property in Santa Rosa County and the court will not be able to hear your case. This may open a judgment you obtain to attack when you try to collect it. 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.
Serving a Defendant in Santa Rosa County Small Claims Court Cases
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). The plaintiff needs to know the full names of all the individuals you are suing. You also need to a good 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 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. If a business has a fictitious name, you will need to obtain that as well. The fictitious name information can be obtained through the Department of State, Division of Corporations as well.
How to Prepare to File a Small Claims Court Case in Santa Rosa County
Before you file a small claims court action in Santa Rosa 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. You may be able to resolve your case without going to court. This will be the quickest and easiest way to resolve your dispute.
Santa Rosa County Small Claims Court Rules
Small Claims court cases in Santa Rosa County are governed by the Florida Small Claims Rules.
Santa Rosa County Small Claims Court Courthouse
Small Claims Court cases in Santa Rosa County can be filed at the Santa Rosa County Courthouse which is at: 6495 Caroline Street Milton, FL 32570 The courthouse can be reached at: 850-981-5583.
What Types of Cases are Not Handled in Santa Rosa County Small Claims Court?
Santa Rosa County Small Claims Court handles all types of cases except:
- alimony payments
- traffic fines
Jury Trial in Small Claims Court in Santa Rosa County
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 the plaintiff or defendant may request a jury trial. Pursuant to Small Claims Court Rule 7.150, the plaintiff can file a written demand for a jury trial when filing the suit, and a defendant can request a jury trial either within five days of being served notice of the action 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.