Crawford County Small Claims Court, Michigan


Court’s Ruling in a Small Claims Court Case

The magistrate or judge could make a decision at the hearing after the presentation of evidence. The court can also take the matter under submission. If this occurs, then the court will notify both parties of the outcome (usually through mail).

Is there a Monetary Limit for Small Claims Court Cases in Crawford County?

A small claims court in Crawford County cannot award a party more than $6,000 (not including court costs and other fees). If a plaintiff filed a case in small claims court that is worth more than six thousand dollars, the plaintiff can still choose to file the case in small claims court. But, if the plaintiff does so, he or she gives up the right to recover anything more than that amount. Additionally, the plaintiff is precluded from filing another case to ask for the amount above the threshold.

Small Claims Court Case Types

Civil cases where a party is seeking $6,000 or less can be filed in small claims court. A court can only award money in a small claims court case. If a party is seeking property or specific performance, the case should not be filed in small claims court. Usually, these are the most common types of cases filed and heard in small claims court:

  • Contract disputes including payment or performance
  • Car accidents where insurance is not covering the damages
  • Tenant and landlord disputes over the return of security deposit

Small claims court does not handle the following types of cases:

  • Any intentional harm
  • Assault and Battery
  • Libel
  • Slander

Settling a Small Claims Court

Frequently, a court may attempt to resolve a case without an actual hearing. Mediation is the method by which a court tries to settle a case without a hearing or trial. A mediator will meet with both parties and attempt to find some common ground for resolving the claim without a trial.

Serving the Defendant in a Small Claims Court Case

After the case is filed, the court will make attempts to provide the defendant with a copy of the Affidavit and Claim (that the plaintiff filled out). In addition to the filing fee, the plaintiff is also responsible for paying the cost of service of the defendant. Service is how the defendant learns of the lawsuit and when the case will be heard. The court uses personal service or certified mail to provide proper notice to the defendant.

Can an attorney represent me in my Crawford County Small Claims Court Case?

Parties are not allowed to be represented by attorneys in small claims court. Neither the plaintiff nor defendant can be represented by an attorney in small claims court. Each side is required to represent himself or herself in front of the court. Either the plaintiff or the defendant can request that the case be removed to regular district court from small claims court (which would allow either side to utilize the services of an attorney). The disadvantage to this is that district court uses normal rules of discovery and presentation of evidence which means the case will take much longer to reach a conclusion.

Who Listens to a Small Claims Court Case in Crawford County?

Juries are not available for a small claims court case. A small claims court case is heard by either a judge or an attorney magistrate. Attorney Magistrates are attorneys that have been appointed by the court to assist the court with a variety of legal matters (including hearing small court cases). Generally, attorney magistrates are used to hear small claims court cases.

What Happens at a Small Claims Court Hearing

The plaintiff will have the opportunity to present evidence first. The defendant presents their side of the case after the plaintiff. The court may dismiss the case if the plaintiff fails to appear. If the defendant does not appear at the hearing, the court may issue a default judgment based on the evidence that the plaintiff presents.

Crawford County Small Claims Court Jurisdiction

A Small Claims Court case needs to be filed where the defendant’s home is, where the defendant’s business is located (if you are suing a business), or where the transaction or event that the case arose from occurred. Where the case is filed is called venue. Filing in the wrong district court can postpone your case being heard, force you to pay additional filing and service fees, and/or have your case be dismissed. District court staff is prohibited by law from providing you legal advice, but we do recommend contacting them to confirm that the district court’s geographical jurisdiction covers the area where your case occurred.

Crawford County Small Claims Court Cases

Crawford County Small Claims Court

Crawford County Small Claims Court

Small Claims court cases in Crawford County are filed in the 87C District Court. The 87C District Court handles a variety of cases including small claims court cases. Small claims court is a special court in Michigan designed for people to settle monetary disputes without the aid of attorneys. Small claims court is designed so that a normal person (non-lawyer) can successfully use the court to hear their case. Attorneys are not allowed to appear in court or argue on behalf of clients in small claims court. Neither party needs to hire an attorney for small claims court cases (but can consult with one for questions about their case). A party simply states the case in their own words. Small claims court is a special division of 87C District Court. The 87C District Court handles other types of civil cases along with criminal cases.

Preparing for a Small Claims Court Hearing

Before the hearing, parties should gather all documents, papers, and other evidence related to the case. This includes any contracts, written agreements, receipts, photographs, or videos that involve the subject matter of your case. Both the plaintiff and the defendant will have a chance to present their side of the case to the court. It is strongly recommended you write out what you plan on saying before the hearing (at least an outline or bullet points). You should also try and arrange for any witnesses which support your position to be present in court at the hearing to present testimony.

Removal of a Small Claims Court Case to 87C District Court

Removal is the legal name for transferring the case from small claims court to regular district court (which allows either side to be represented by an attorney and removes the $6,000 limit of small claims court). Moving the case to regular district court means the normal rules of evidence and discovery apply meaning the case will take much longer to resolve. A request for removal may be made by either the plaintiff or the defendant. In order to do this, a party needs to complete and file a Demand and Order for Removal, Small Claims with the court clerk. The document needs to be filed before the small claims court trial or hearing. The document can be found online.

Filing a Small Claims Court Case in Crawford County

The plaintiff needs to fill out a form to file a case in small claims court which can be found online. The form needs to be filed with the court clerk. Along with the filing, the plaintiff must pay a filing fee which varies based on the amount of the claim. Filings fees for small claims court cases are:

  • $30 – for claims up to $600
  • $50 – for claims between $600 and $1,750
  • $70 – for claims between $1,750 and up to $6,000

If the plaintiff prevails in the case, the court may award the filing fee to the plaintiff as part of the costs of the action. Once the case is filed, the court clerk should provide you with a court case number. Keep the court case number as you will use it anytime you contact the court about your case (or complete any additional paperwork about your case). The clerk should also provide you with the date, time, and location of the hearing.

Defendant’s Options in Small Claims Court Cases

A defendant has the following options after being sued in small claims court:

  • Removing the case to Regular District Court
  • Appearing at the Court Hearing
  • Ignoring the Case (which may end up in a court issuing a default judgment against you)
  • Settling the Case

Small Claims Court Locations in Crawford County

Small Claims Court cases in Crawford County are handled in the 87C District Court. 87C District Court is located at:

Crawford County Courthouse
200 W. Michigan Ave.
Grayling, MI 49738

The phone number for Crawford County District Court is: (989) 348-2841. The 87C District Court can be foundonline.