How do I file a small claims court case in Walton County?
The party filing the case needs to complete a Statement of Claim form (which can be obtained from the Walton Court Clerk’s Office). The form should be typed or printed with a pen to ensure it is legible.
Who is Able to File a Case in Walton County Small Claims Court?
The following people can file a small claims court case:
- A person 18 years of age or 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
Walton 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. 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. A corporation can be represented by any officer of the corporation or an employee that is so designated by an officer of that corporation. Multiple defendants may have pre-trial conferences set on different dates. The plaintiff is still required to attend all of these pre-trial conferences.
Before Filing your Walton County Small Claims Court Case
Before filing a case, it is important that you attempt to discuss your case with the opposing party about what the actual issue is. 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.
Walton County Small Claims Court Fees and Costs
There are costs involved with filing a small claims court case in Walton County which include a filing fee and a service fee. If a final judgment is entered in your favor, these costs can be added to the total amount of your judgment. You should contact the Walton County Clerk Court to inquire about the specific amount of the filing fee for your case.
Walton County Small Claims Court Rules
The procedures governing all small claims court cases in Florida are found in the Florida Small Claims Rules.
Are Jury Trials available in Walton County Small Claims Court Cases?
Even though it is small claims court, a jury trial is available. A large majority of cases are handled and tried in front of a judge rather than a jury. 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 either of these do not occur, then the case will be tried in front of a judge.
Serving a Defendant in Walton County Small Claims Court Cases
Once a case is filed, the case cannot proceed until the Defendant has been served. 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. You also need to learn if the business is operating under a ficitious name. The Department of Corporations can assist you with this.
Types of Cases Not Handled in Walton County Small Claims Court
Florida Small Claims Court cases cannot handle cases involving the following items:
- alimony payments
- traffic court fines
Location for Small Claims Courthouse in Walton County
Small claims court cases can be filed at the Walton County Courthouse which is located at: 571 U.S. Highway 90 E. DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433 The courthouse can be reached at: 850-892-8115.
What Jurisdiction does the Walton County Small Claims Court Have?
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 Walton County and the court will not be able to hear your case. If the court does not have jurisdiction, this would allow the judgment you obtain to be attacked by the defendant afterwards when you begin to collect it. Claims up to $5,000.00 (not including interest, attorney fees, or costs) can be filed in small claims court. Chapter 34 of the Florida Statutes and Rule 7.010 authorize the limit on small claims court cases.