Will a Decision be made at the Hearing?
The magistrate or judge could make a decision at the hearing after the presentation of evidence. Or, the judge or magistrate might take the matter under submission. If this happens, the court will probably notify the parties through mail.
Jurisdiction of Kalkaska County Small Claims Court
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. 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.
Serving the Defendant in a Small Claims Court Case
The court will provide a copy of the Affidavit and Claim that you filed to the Defendant. The plaintiff must pay for this cost of service. Service is a way for the court to provide notice to the Defendant of your action so the Defendant can have proper time to respond and appear and provide a defense. Service can be made by either certified mail or in person.
Is there a Monetary Limit for Small Claims Court Cases in Kalkaska 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 the plaintiff believes is worth more, the case can still be filed in small claims court. If they do, the party waives their right to recover any amount above six thousand. The plaintiff also cannot file an additional case based on the same case to recover the excess amount.
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)
Can I have an attorney Represent me in Small Claims Court?
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 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.
Filing a Small Claims Court Case in Kalkaska County
The forms for a plaintiff to fill out to begin a small claims court case can be found here. Once completed, the form needs to be filed with the 87B 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. After the case has been filed, the clerk can 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.
Who Listens to a Small Claims Court Case in Kalkaska County?
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 that have been appointed by the court to assist the court with a variety of legal matters (including hearing small court cases). Due to judicial funding, oftentimes, an attorney magistrate is used to hear a large portion of small claims court cases.
Kalkaska County Small Claims Court Location
Kalkaska County Small Claims Court cases are handled in the 87B District Court. 87B District CourtPO Box 780 Kalkaska County Governmental Center 605 N. Birch Street Kalkaska, MI 49646
The phone number for Kalkaska County District Court is: (231) 258-9031. The District Court can be found online here.
Kalkaska County Small Claims Court Hearing Preparations
Before the hearing, parties should gather all documents, papers, and other evidence related to the case. Evidence could include a contract, a purchase order, a receipt, pictures, or videos related to the case. Both the plaintiff and defendant will have the chance to present evidence 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). You should also try and arrange for any witnesses which support your position to be present in court at the hearing to present testimony.
Settling a Small Claims Court
Often, a court may try to settle or resolve a case short of an actual trial. Mediation is the tool that a court may try to use to settle a case. A mediator will meet with both parties and attempt to find some common ground for resolving the claim without a trial.
Small Claims Court Case Types
Civil cases where a party is seeking $6,000 or less can be filed in small claims court. 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. 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:
- Assault and Battery
- Any action based on intentional harm or damages
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. Removal to district court means the normal rules and procedures apply including specifically procedures related to the presentation of evidence and discovery process. Either the plaintiff or defendant can decide to remove the case from the small claims court division to the regular district court. To do so, a party needs to complete and file a Demand and Order for Removal, Small Claims, in the court where the case is set to be heard. This document needs to be filed prior to the small claims court trial or hearing and can actually be filed the same day (so long as it is before the hearing starts). The form can be found here.
Hearings in Kalkaska County Small Claims Court
The plaintiff presents his or her evidence first. The defendant will then have the chance to present their side. 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.
Kalkaska County Small Claims Court Cases
87B District Court handles Small Claims court cases in Kalkaska County. A special branch of 87B District Court handles small claims court cases whose purpose is to settle and decide disputes concerning 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. Attorneys cannot represent parties 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). At the hearing, a party is only expected to present their case in their own words. Small claims court is a special division of 87B District Court. District courts also handle other criminal and civil cases, in addition to small claims court.