What County Should a Small Claims Court Case be filed in?
Illinois law requires a small claims court case to be filed in the county where one of the defendants live or in the county where the incident or transaction involved in the case occurred. In the case of a traffic collision, it would be the county where the traffic collision occurred.
Does a Kendall County Small Claims Court Jury or Judge?
In Illinois, a small claims court case can be heard in front of a judge or a jury. If you are seriously considering requesting a jury trial, it is recommended that you speak with and seek advice from an attorney before making that request. A jury trial (which can be in front of six or twelve jurors) is highly complex and requires significantly more preparation than a trial in front of a judge. Requesting a jury trial also has additional costs for the party making the request.
How do I serve a party?
After filing the complaint, the plaintiff needs to arrange for it to be served. Serving an individual is easy (if an address is known). But if the party is a corporate entity, it can be more difficult determining the correct procedure. In the State of Illinois, a corporate entity can be served on a corporation’s office or its registered agent. The Illinois Secretary of State website has additional information to allow you to search for addresses related to corporate entities and registered agents.
Small Claims Court Locations for Kendall County
In Kendall County, Small Claims Court cases are heard at:Kendall County Courthouse 807 W. John Street Yorkville, IL 60560
The court’s website is here. The circuit court clerk takes care of all documents and files for court cases. The circuit clerk’s address is:807 West John Street Yorkville, Illinois 60560-0259
The clerk’s phone number for the court is: 630-553-4183
The clerk’s fax number for the court is: 630-553-4964
Types of Small Claims Court Cases
In Illinois, only certain types of cases are handled in small claims court:
- breach of contract
- property damage
- personal injury cases
- repossessions of personal property that was leased or purchased on credit
- garnishment case against a debtor
The maximum judgment that can be allowed in small claims court is $10,000 (plus costs).
Small Claims Court Kendall County
In Kendall County, small claims court allows a plaintiff to bring a case if the amount is $10,000 or less. Small claims court in Kendall County uses simpler rules and procedures than regular civil court which allows cases to be tried or resolved quicker and by people who are not attorneys.
What Happens at a Small Claims Court Trial
In a court trial, the judge will decide the facts of your case and will listen to the evidence provided by the plaintiff and the defendant. The court will also listen to any witness testimony and exhibits (documents) provided by either side. The court will hear evidence from the plaintiff first. The defendant puts on its side of the case once the plaintiff has finished. As the judge is deciding the facts of your case, it is required that you speak slowly and clearly so the judge can follow what you are saying. It is normal for all people to be nervous when speaking in public (let alone in front of a judge) so it may be helpful to practice talking about your case in front of another person (spouse, friend, neighbor).
Preparing for a Small Claims Court Hearing
The key to preparing a case for trial is to be able to explain your side of the case in a way that is easy for the judge (or jury) to understand. Before the trial date, you should gather any pieces of evidence that will help you explain your side of the case including any contracts, receipts, photographs, or other documents. Preparing a short chronology of the events in your case is helpful. Details including dates, times, and values of damages or items purchased will be important for the court to take note of (and should have been included in your initial complaint if you are the plaintiff). If there are any people who observed anything in your case, it is important to invite them to court to provide testimony at the trial. Ensure the witness is aware of the exact date, time, and location of your small claims court case. If the witness refuses to come to court, you will need to prepare and serve a subpoena for the witness’s attendance.
Who can Bring a Case in Kendall County Small Claims Court?
Small claims court can be used by any resident of Illinois or Illinois corporation (both as a plaintiff or a defendant). If an individual is under the age of majority (18), the court may appoint a guardian. The court does require that any corporation acting as a plaintiff in small claims court be represented by an attorney. However, if a corporation is sued, it can be represented by certain officials at the company including an officer, manager, or registered agent.
Filing a Small Claims Court Case
To begin a small claims case, the party needs to file a document with the court clerk called a complaint. A small claims complaint can be obtained at the court clerk’s office. The party that files the complaint is called the plaintiff. The party being sued in the complaint is called the defendant.
Beginning a Kendall County Small Claims Court Case
Before a party files a case in small claims court, it is recommended to contact the party directly by sending a demand letter. A demand letter is a written summary describing the circumstances of the plaintiff’s claim and explains why the plaintiff should be awarded the money. Sending a demand letter is recommended because filing a case and resolving it in court often takes time. Also, collecting funds after prevailing in court can take more time and is not guaranteed. If it is possible to settle your case before filing with the court, it is an option worth exploring. Drafting a demand letter also allows the plaintiff to explain the case in a brief manner (which has to be done when the complaint is filed in the court).
Can I have an attorney represent me in Small Claims Court?
You can represent yourself in small claims court or hire an attorney to represent you. However, when a corporate entity is the plaintiff in a case, it is required to be represented by an attorney.
After your Small Claims Court Case
If the court rules in favor of the plaintiff, it will issue a judgment of monetary damages. Either party is able to appeal the judgment issued by the court (which must be filed within thirty days of the judgment being entered by the court.