Emmet County Small Claims Court, Michigan


How is a Defendant served in a Small Claims Court Case?

Once the case is filed, the court will attempt to provide the defendant with proper notice of the case by giving the defendant a copy of the Affidavit and Claim form initially filled out by the plaintiff. The plaintiff must pay for this cost of service. Service is how the court ensures the defendant has notice of the nature of the lawsuit and the hearing date. Courts utilize both personal service and service by certified mail.

What kind of cases can be filed in small claims court?

Civil cases where a party is seeking $6,000 or less can be filed in small claims court. A party can only ask for money in small claims court. If a plaintiff wants specific property or the court to make an order regarding specific performance, small claims court is not the property place to file the case. Here are some examples of common types of small claims court cases:

  • Traffic Collisions
  • Tenant and landlord disputes over a security deposit
  • Cases concerning contractual terms, performance, and payment

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

  • Fraud
  • Libel
  • Slander
  • Assault and Battery
  • Any Intentional Harm or Damage

What is the maximum amount of money that a Small Claims Court can Award in Emmet County?

Small Claims courts cannot award more than $6,000 to a party. If a party chooses to file their case in small claims court which is worth more than six thousand dollars, the party can still choose to file the case in small claims court. If they do, the party waives their right to recover any amount above six thousand. The plaintiff is also precluded from suing again based on the same case after the case has been decided.

Settling a Case Without a Small Claims Court Trial

Oftentimes the court may try to settle a court case without a hearing. This can be done through a process called mediation. A mediator will meet with both parties and attempt to find some common ground for resolving the claim without a trial.

What Options does a Defendant have in Small Court Cases?

Once a defendant has been served, the following options are available:

  • Settling the case outside of court
  • Removing or Transferring the Case to Regular District Court
  • Appearing at the Small Claims Court Hearing
  • Ignoring the case (and having the court issue a default at the hearing)

Emmet County Small Claims Court Location

Emmet County Small Claims Court cases are handled in the 90th District Court. 90th District Court is located at:

Emmet County, City-County Bldg.
200 Division Street
Petoskey, MI 49770

The phone number for Emmet County District Court is: (231) 348-1750. The 90th District Court can be foundonline.

Emmet County Small Claims Court Cases

Emmet County Small Claims Court

Emmet County Small Claims Court

Small Claims court cases in Emmet County are filed in the 90th District Court. The 90th 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. Neither the plaintiff not the defendant need to know anything about the law in order to utilize small claims court. In small claims court in Michigan, attorneys are not allowed to argue cases for clients. A party does not need an attorney in small claims court (but can obviously consult with or talk to an attorney about their case if they want). In small claims court, a party need only present their own side of their case in their own words. Although it is called small claims court, it is a division of the 90th District Court. The 90th District Court handles other types of civil cases along with criminal cases.

Jurisdiction of Emmet County Small Claims Court

A plaintiff should file the small claims court case in the district court where the defendant lives, where the defendant’s business is located, or where the transactions (that are at issue) occurred. Where the case is filed is called venue. If a case is filed in the wrong location, it will delay your case being actually decided and may result in having to pay a second filing fee or having the case dismiss your first case. The court staff of the 90th District Court cannot provide advice, but it can tell you the geographic location the court serves. It is recommended you contact the court clerk of the District Court to confirm you have the proper venue.

Removal of a Small Claims Court Case to 90th District Court

Removal of a case to regular district court allows both parties to hire an attorney (if they so choose) and also removes the $6,000 limit that the court can award. If the case is removed, it also means the process will be much lengthier as the normal rules of evidence and discovery will now apply. A request for removal may be made by either the plaintiff or the defendant. To accomplish this, a party should fill out and file with the court clerk a Demand and Order for Removal, Small Claims. The document needs to be filed before the small claims court trial or hearing. The Demand and Order for Removal is available on a website.

Is a Jury Available in a Emmet County Small Claims Court Case?

Juries are not allowed in small claims court cases. 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.

Emmet County Small Claims Court Hearing Preparations

You should gather all evidence well before the date of the hearing. 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 advised that you write out what you plan on saying to the court about your case in advance (to help focus in on what is really important). If you have witnesses who also have information that will support your position, you should make arrangements to have them present for the hearing so they can present testimony.

Emmet County Small Claims Court Hearings

The plaintiff presents his or her evidence first. The defendant presents his or her evidence once the plaintiff’s presentation of evidence is complete. The court may dismiss the case if the plaintiff fails to appear. The court may enter a default judgment is the defendant fails to appear at the hearing.

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 may also take the case under submission (and rule at a later time). If this happens, the court will probably notify the parties through mail.

Are Attorneys Allowed in Small Claims Court in Emmet County?

Parties are not allowed to be represented by attorneys in small claims court. Neither side is allowed to have an attorney represent them. Each side is required to represent themselves in front of the judge or magistrate. Either side can request that the case be removed to regular district court where both sides can have 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.

How do I file a Small Claims court case in Emmet County?

The plaintiff needs to fill out a form to file a case in small claims court which can be found online. Once filled out, the plaintiff needs to file the form with the 90th District Court clerk. The plaintiff will also have to pay a filing fee when filing a case. The filing fees 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 is successful in the case, the court could add the cost of the filing fee to the damages in the case. Once the case is filed, the court clerk should provide you with a court case number. It is important to keep this case number with you to use each time you contact the court clerk or any court staff as it will help them identify your case. Along with the court case number, the clerk should provide you with the location, date, and time of the hearing for your case.