How is a Defendant served 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). 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. Service can be made by either certified mail or in person.
Gogebic County Small Claims Court Location
98th District Court handles small claims court cases in Gogebic County. 98th District CourtGogebic County Courthouse 200 N. Moore St. Bessemer, MI 49911
The phone number for Gogebic County District Court is: (906) 663-4611. The District Court can be found online here.
Preparing for a Small Claims Court Hearing
Both parties should gather all evidence well before the hearing. This could include copies of contracts, purchase agreements, checks, photographs or videos. Both the plaintiff and defendant will have the chance to present evidence 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). Also, if there are any witnesses besides yourself who have information that would support your position, you should arrange to have them present at the hearing so they can present testimony to the court.
How to File a Small Claims Court Case in Gogebic 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 98th District Court clerk. Along with the filing, the plaintiff must pay a filing fee which varies based on the amount of the claim. 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 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 has been filed, the clerk should provide you with the 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.
Settling a Small Claims Court
Often, a court may try to settle or resolve a case short of an actual trial. 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.
Removing the Case to District Court
Removing the case to regular district court allows both parties to be represented by attorneys but also removes the $6,000 limit. 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. This must be filed before the hearing starts, but can actually be filed the day of the hearing or anytime before the hearing. The Demand and Order for Removal is available on a website.
Jurisdiction of Gogebic 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. This is commonly called venue. If a plaintiff files in the wrong district court, it will postpone your case being heard and may result in you paying multiple filing fees or even having the incorrectly filed case being dismissed by the court. While court staff cannot provide legal advice, it is recommended you contact the court clerk of the District Court to confirm that the court’s jurisdiction covers the geographic area needed for your case.
Gogebic County Small Claims Court
98th District Court handles Small Claims court cases in Gogebic County. Small Claims court is a special type of court with a purpose of allowing people to settle their disputes over money without the use of attorneys or lawyers. Small claims court is designed so that a normal person (non-lawyer) can successfully use the court to hear their case. In small claims court in Michigan, attorneys are not allowed to argue cases for clients. Neither party needs to hire an attorney for small claims court cases (but can consult with one for questions about their case). At the hearing, a party is only expected to present their case in their own words. Small claims court is a special division of 98th District Court. The 98th District Court handles other types of civil cases along with criminal cases.
What is the maximum amount of money that a Small Claims Court can Award in Gogebic County?
In Michigan, the small claims court cannot award more than $6,000 to a party. 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. The plaintiff also cannot file an additional case based on the same case to recover the excess amount.
Will a Decision be made at the Hearing?
The court may make a decision at the hearing after both sides presented their evidence. The court may also take the case under submission (and rule at a later time). If this occurs, then the court will notify both parties of the outcome (usually through mail).
Hearings in Gogebic County Small Claims Court
Plaintiff usually is given the first chance to present evidence. The defendant presents his or her evidence once the plaintiff’s presentation of evidence is complete. If the plaintiff fails to appear at the hearing, the court can dismiss the case. If the defendant fails to appear at the hearing, the court can issue what is called a default judgment based on the case the plaintiff present.
What Options does a Defendant have in Small Court Cases?
After being served with an Affidavit and Claim of a small claims court case, the defendant has the following options:
- 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)
Can an attorney represent me in my Gogebic County Small Claims Court Case?
Attorneys or lawyers are not allowed in small claims court. Neither side is allowed to have an attorney represent them. Both parties are required to represent themselves at the hearing. 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 downside to this is that regular district court utilizes the normal rules of evidence and discovery which means your case will take longer to resolve.
Types of Cases in Small Claims Court
Small Claims court handles civil cases where the amount in controversy (or dispute) is $6,000 or less. Money is the only remedy a party can ask for 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:
- landlord and tenant dispute about the return of a security deposit
- Contractual dispute including performance or payment
- automobile accident where insurance isn’t available or does not cover the damages
The following cases cannot be filed in small claims court:
- Any intentional harm
- Assault and Battery
Is a Jury Available in a Gogebic County Small Claims Court Case?
Juries are not available for a small claims court case. Small Claims Court cases are only heard in front of an attorney magistrate or a judge. Attorney magistrates are attorneys who have been appointed by the court to handle certain legal matters. Due to judicial funding, oftentimes, an attorney magistrate is used to hear a large portion of small claims court cases.