Small Claims Court Locations for Moultrie County
In Moultrie County, Small Claims Court cases are heard at:Moultrie County Courthouse 10 S. Main Street Sullivan, IL 61951
The circuit court clerk takes care of all documents and files for court cases. The circuit clerk’s address is:10 South Main Street Suite 7 Sullivan, Illinois 61951-1969
The clerk’s phone number for the court is: 217-728-4622
The clerk’s fax number for the court is: 217-728-7833
What kind of cases are handled in small claims court?
In Illinois, only certain types of cases are handled in small claims court:
- breach of contract
- property damage
- personal injury
- repossessions of personal property that was leased or purchased on credit
- garnishment case against a debtor
The most amount of money that a court can award in small claims court is $10,000 (plus court costs and fees).
What County Should a Small Claims Court Case be filed in?
In Illinois, a small claims court case must be filed in the county where one of the defendants live or in the county in which the incident or transaction took place. For example, if your case involves a car accident and the car accident occurs in Moultrie County, you can file the case here.
Who hears my case in Moultrie County Small Claims Court
In Moultrie County, a small claims trial may be in front of a jury or a judge. 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.
Small Claims Court Trial Preparation
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. It is useful to prepare a short chronology of the dates and times of the events in your case. Dates, times, and monetary values are extremely important details for the court to take note of. 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 sue in 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 someone is under eighteen, the court may appoint a guardian to act on behalf of the minor. A corporation is not required to be represented by an attorney in small claims court. If a defendant is a corporate entity, only certain officers or members of the corporation are allowed to represent it.
What Happens at a Small Claims Court Trial
At a trial in front of a judge, the court determines the facts of the case after listening to the evidence provided by both the plaintiff and defendant. The judge will also listen to any witness testimony and will review exhibits offered by either the plaintiff or the defendant. The plaintiff presents their side first. The defendant presents their case after the plaintiff has concluded their presentation. It is imperative that you speak slowly and clearly for the judge to be able to understand your side of the case. Normally, people will naturally be inclined to be nervous when speaking in public (and in front of a court), so it is recommended you practice discussing your side of the case in front of another person (spouse, relative, neighbor, friend) so you get more comfortable speaking about it.
Before Filing a Small Claims Court Case in Moultrie County
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. Additionally, collection of funds after winning a judgment is not a guarantee. If it is possible to settle your case before filing with the court, it is an option worth exploring. Finally, a demand letter allows the plaintiff a chance to explain in clear words the facts surrounding the issue (which is something the plaintiff will have to do in the complaint which is filed with the court).
Filing a Small Claims Court Case
The plaintiff needs to file a document called a complaint with the court clerk. A blank complaint can be obtained by contacting the court clerk’s office. The party filing the complaint to begin the court case is called the plaintiff. The party that the plaintiff is trying to recover money from is called the defendant.
Serving a Party in Moultrie County Small Claims Court
After a complaint is filed in court, it needs to be served on the party. Serving an individual is easy (if an address is known). Service of a corporate entity can be slightly more complex. In Illinois, a corporation can be served on either an office of the corporation or its registered agent. This information can be obtained online at the Illinois Secretary of State website.
What happens after the Small Claims Court Trial?
If the court finds for the plaintiff, the court is able to issue a judgment which awards monetary damages to the plaintiff. Illinois law requires that either party wishing to appeal the judgment in small claims court needs to be filed the appeal within thirty days of the date the judgment is entered by the court.
Can I have an attorney represent me in Small Claims Court?
Both plaintiffs and defendants are allowed to be represented by attorneys in small claims court or you can represent yourself. However, corporations acting as plaintiffs are required to be represented by an attorney.
Moultrie County Small Claims Court
Small claims court in Moultrie County is a unique type of court where a plaintiff can file a case in an amount of $10,000 or less. Small claims court in Moultrie 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.