St. Johns County Small Claims Court Costs and Fees
There are costs involved with filing a small claims court case in St. Johns County which include a filing fee and a service fee. If a party obtains a judgment in its favor, these court costs can be added into the total amount of the judgment. Contact the St. Johns County Court Clerk for the specific amount of the filing fee for your specific case.
Who is Able to File a Case in St. Johns County Small Claims Court?
You can file a small claims court case if you are one of the following:
- 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
Filing a Small Claims Court Case in St. Johns County
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, the court would not have jurisdiction and would be unable to hear your 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). A claim of up to $5,000.00, not including costs, interest, and attorneys fees, can be filed in small claims court in St. Johns County. Chapter 34 of the Florida Statutes and Rule 7.010 authorize the limit on small claims court cases.
Filing a Small Claims Court Case in St. Johns County Small Claims Court
You need to contact the St. Johns Clerk’s Office and obtain and complete a Statement of Claim form. The form needs to be typed or printed with a pen to ensure the legibility.
Rules for St. Johns Small Claims Court Cases
The procedures governing all small claims court cases in Florida are found in the Florida Small Claims Rules.
Location for Small Claims Courthouse in St. Johns County
Small Claims Court cases in St. Johns County can be filed at the St. Johns County Courthouse which is at: 4010 Lewis Speedway St. Augustine, FL 32084 The courthouse can be reached at: 904-819-3600.
St. Johns County Small Claims Court Pre-Trial Conference
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. 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 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. The plaintiff is still required to attend all of these pre-trial conferences.
Cases that Cannot Be Filed in St. Johns County Small Claims Court
Small Claims Court does not handle cases involving the following:
- alimony payments
- traffic fines
Are Jury Trials available in St. Johns County Small Claims Court Cases?
A jury trial is available in a small claims court case 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. 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.
Serving a Defendant in St. Johns 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). It is very important that you have the full name of the individual you want to sue. 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 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. The plaintiff can search for this information on the Florida Department of State, Department of Corporation websites at http://www.sunbiz.org or by phone at 850-245-6052. If a business has a fictitious name, you will need to obtain that as well. The Department of Corporations can assist you with this.
Before Filing your St. Johns County Small Claims Court Case
Before you file a small claims court action in St. Johns County, you should communicate with the other party about what is exactly in dispute. The easiest way for this is to draft and deliver a letter to the other party which succinctly details your complaint. You may be able to resolve your case without going to court. Sending this initial communication will be the simplest and most efficient way of resolving your case.