Troup County Small Claims Court
Types of Cases Filed in Troup County Small Claims Court
Here are examples of cases that are often found in small claims court:
- A tenant refuses to pay for damages which are more than the security deposit
- A landlord wants to evict a tenant for failure to pay rent
- Renter moves out and Owner fails to return deposit
- A Merchant fails to address issues with faulty merchandise
- Borrower refuses to make payments on a loan
- A dry cleaner will not pay for clothing which was damaged or lost
- Unnecessary repairs or work done on a car by a mechanic
- Name, address, and telephone number of the plaintiff (and attorney if the plaintiff has one)
- Include the name and street address of the defendant (this is what the court will use to serve the defendant)
- The amount of money the plaintiff is requesting
- Explain why the defendant is being sued (and why the defendant owes the money)
- Copies of all documents relevant to the claims (Keep the originals for your hearing)
- Ensure you have all copies of any documents you need for the case. You should make at least two additional sets of copies (one for the court and one for the other party).
- Contact any witnesses you need to call to prove your case and confirm that they will appear on the hearing date
- If a witness is not cooperative or is not willing to appear, prepare a subpoena.
- A subpoena is a piece of paper completed by you and issued by the court which commands certain persons to appear in court and may direct them to bring documents with them or to produce evidence. A subpoena can be obtained from the clerk’s office.
Which County do I file my case in?
The case must be filed in the County where the defendant (or the person you are suing) lives. If the defendant lives in Troup County, you may file the case in this County. If you are suing a corporation, you must file your case in the County where the registered agent for service of process is located. To find the registered agent, contact the Corporations Division of the Secretary of State either online or at 404-656-2817. If you are suing an unincorporated business, you must file the case where the business is physically located. If the business is in Troup County, you can file here.
The plaintiff must also pay a filing fee. The filing fee includes the cost to serve one defenant. Filing fees vary county to county but are generally between $45 and $55. There is an extra charge for service for any additional defendants (if you are suing more than one person). The extra charge is usually between $25 to $35 and caries by county.
The Clerk for the Magistrate Court can direct you to the necessary forms (and review them for completeness) but is prohibited by law from giving legal advice. For example, the court clerk would be able to review your completed forms to make sure your signature is in the appropriate blanks but is not able to tell you which defendant you should sue. The clerk will also not be able to tell you whether he or she believes you will win your case.
Hearing Date for my Small Claims Case
The court selects the hearing date after the defendant responds to the claim in Troup County. Hearing dates are usually 15 to 30 days after the date the answer was filed.
How do I appeal a judgment?
If you are not happy with the court’s decision (and generally at least one party, sometimes both, are not satisfied with the judgment), the party may file an appeal (or ask a higher court to review the judgment). The appeal will be heard in the state or superior court of Troup County. On the appeal, either party may request a jury trial (something you cannot have at the magistrate court level). The appeal needs to be filed within thirty days of the court’s decision.
In Troup County, small claims court is sometimes called magistrate court. If a dispute arises between parties that cannot be resolved, a party can file the matter in magistrate court.
Small Claims courts handle cases where the amount in dispute is less than $15,000.00. They are designed to quickly and inexpensively settle the dispute.
The defendant is able to issue a claim against the plaintiff. This is called a counterclaim. The defendant can file this against the plaintiff’s original claim if it is related to the initial claim and the amount asked for by the defendant is les than $15,000. The counterclaim will likely be heard the same day as the plaintiff’s claim.
If the defendant fails to answer the claim or appear at the hearing, the judge can issue a default judgment without hearing from defendant. If it is granted, the plaintiff is entitled to the amount of damages asked for in the suit, plus court costs. If the plaintiff asks for damages that are not measured in money (like specific property), the court will likely conduct an additional hearing to place a dollar amount on the value of the property (or item being asked for). The defendant has a 30 day window to respond to plaintiff’s claim. Once defendant fails to respond, the defendant is in “default.”
What are the hearing procedures?
Some counties require you to go to mediation before a hearing in front of a judge. Mediation is an attempt to try and settle the case without a hearing. Even if mediation is successful, a plaintiff can still seek to recover court costs. If mediation is not successful, the case will proceed to the hearing. The court will hear evidence and provide an opportunity for both the plaintiff and the defendant to introduce their evidence (and allow each side to comment on the evidence introduced by the other party). When both (or all parties) are done presenting evidence, the judge will issue a decision. The judge may award damages to the plaintiff, defendant, or both depending on the facts of the case.
If the plaintiff fails to appear at the hearing, the court may:
- The court can allow defendant to put on his or her evidence and then issue a decision without hearing from the plaintiff.
- The court can continue the case to a later date
- Dismiss the case
If the defendant fails to appear at the hearing, the court may grant a default judgment against the defendant. It is strongly recommended you attend the hearing whether you are the plaintiff or defendant (regardless of whether you believe the case to be strong or weak).
How Much Time Does a Defendant Have to Answer?
After the case is filed the court clerk serves the defendant with a copy of the claim along with a summons. The defendant has 30 days to respond or answer the claim.
Can I hire an attorney?
We cannot tell you whether or not you should hire an attorney. However, you may hire an attorney if you wish, but are not required to do so. You are able to file the case on your own completely without the assistance of an attorney. These cases are tried and heard in front of a judge, without a jury (again, they are designed so a party does not need to retain an expensive attorney to represent them in a case). Some courts utilize mediation as a tool to resolve a case without the time and expense of a trial. Some counties will even require a case to attempt to be settled at mediation prior to it being set for trial.
Troup County Court Location
The magistrate court for Troup County is located at:100 Ridley Avenue Suite 1800 LaGrange, GA 30240
The magistrate judge is Chief Magistrate Vickie Sue McWaters. The telephone number for the court is: 706-883-1695. The fax number is 706-883-1632.
How can I file a claim?
The plaintiff (or person filing the action) needs to file a sworn statement with the magistrate court clerk in the proper county. A sworn statement states the claims made against the defendant and includes the facts giving rise to the claim. At a minimum, the sworn statement should include the following facts:
How should I prepare for the hearing?
The following steps are recommended to prepare for the hearing:
Similarly, if you need additional documents that are not in your possession, you can issue a subpoena for the documents as well.