Midland County Small Claims Court Location
75th District Court handles small claims court cases in Midland County. 75th District CourtMidland County Courthouse 301 W. Main Street Midland, MI 48640
The phone number for Midland County District Court is: (989) 832-6709. The 75th District Court can be foundonline.
Jurisdiction of Midland County Small Claims Court
A case should be filed in the district court where the defendant resides, where the defendant’s business is located, or where the transaction involved in the case 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.
How to File a Small Claims Court Case in Midland County
The plaintiff needs to fill out a form to file a case in small claims court which can be found online. Once completed, the form needs to be filed with the 75th District Court clerk. The plaintiff will also have to pay a filing fee when filing a case. The fees for filing a small claims court case 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 allow the plaintiff to request the cost of the filing fee be added to the damages in the case (and ultimately paid by the defendant). Once the case is filed, the court clerk should provide you with a court case number. You should keep this court case number handy as it will help you identify your case when you speak with court staff or complete paperwork associated with 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.
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 sides will be given the opportunity to present their case. You should write out or prepare what you plan on saying ahead of time. You should also try and arrange for any witnesses which support your position to be present in court at the hearing to present testimony.
How Much Money Can a Party Sue for in Small Claims Court?
A small claims court in Midland 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. The plaintiff also cannot file an additional case based on the same case to recover the excess amount.
Resolving a Case without a Hearing
Oftentimes the court may try to settle a court case without a hearing. This can be done through a process called mediation. In mediation, a mediator will meet with both parties, discuss the case, and try and work towards an agreement that both sides can live with in the hopes of resolving the case without a trial.
What Options does a Defendant have in Small Court Cases?
A defendant has the following options after being sued in small claims court:
- Ignoring the Case (which could end up with the court issuing a default judgment against you)
- Settling the Case Outside of Court
- Transferring the Case out of Small Claims Court
- Appearing at the Court Hearing
Ruling After a Small Claims Court Hearing
The court can make a decision at the time of the hearing (after both sides have presented their case). The court can also take the matter under submission. If this happens, the court will probably notify the parties through mail.
Removal of a Small Claims Court Case to 75th 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). 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 accomplish this, a party should fill out and file with the court clerk a Demand and Order for Removal, Small Claims. 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.
Are Attorneys Allowed in Small Claims Court in Midland County?
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 side can request that the case be removed to regular district court (which means either side could then be represented by 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.
What Happens at a Small Claims Court Hearing
The plaintiff will have the opportunity to present evidence first. 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. The court may enter a default judgment is the defendant fails to appear at the hearing.
Service of a Defendant in Small Claims Court
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 is required to pay the court for the cost of service of the defendant. 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. 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 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. Common types of cases handled in small claims court include the following:
- 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
The following cases cannot be filed in small claims court:
- Assault and Battery
- Any Intentional Harm or Damage
Midland County Small Claims Court Cases
Small Claims court cases in Midland County are filed in the 75th District Court. The 75th 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. 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). A party simply states the case in their own words. Small claims court is a division of 75th District Court. The district court also hears some criminal, civil, and other legal actions.
Who Hears My Case in Midland County Small Claims Court
Small Claims Court cases do not use juries. Cases in small claims court are heard by either a district judge or an attorney magistrate. An attorney magistrate is an attorney who has been appointed by the court to assist with certain types of cases and legal actions. Due to judicial funding, oftentimes, an attorney magistrate is used to hear a large portion of small claims court cases.