Small Claims Court Locations in Ogemaw County
82nd District Court handles small claims court cases in Ogemaw County. 82nd District Court is located at:PO Box 365 Ogemaw County Building 806 W. Houghton Ave. West Branch, MI 48661
The phone number for Ogemaw County District Court is: (989) 345-5040. The 82nd District Court can be foundonline.
Settling a Small Claims Court
Frequently, a court may attempt to resolve a case without an actual 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.
Is there a Monetary Limit for Small Claims Court Cases in Ogemaw 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. 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.
Ogemaw County Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
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. The location of the filing is often 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 82nd 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.
Will a Decision be made at the Hearing?
The court may make a decision at the hearing after both sides presented their evidence. Or, the judge or magistrate might take the matter under submission. If this happens, the court will probably notify the parties through mail.
Ogemaw County Small Claims Court Cases
82nd District Court handles Small Claims court cases in Ogemaw County. 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. Attorneys cannot represent parties in small claims court. 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 special division of 82nd District Court. The 82nd District Court handles other types of civil cases along with criminal cases.
Can an attorney represent me in my Ogemaw County Small Claims Court Case?
Parties are not allowed to be represented by attorneys in small claims court. Neither the plaintiff or defendant is allowed to have an attorney represent them in the case. 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 (which means either side could then be represented by 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.
Preparing for a Hearing in Small Claims Court
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). 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 do I file a Small Claims court case in Ogemaw County?
The forms for a plaintiff to fill out to begin a small claims court case can be found here. The form needs to be filed with the court clerk. When submitting the filing, the plaintiff will need to pay a filing fee. 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 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). Along with the court case number, the clerk should provide you with the location, date, and time of the hearing for your case.
Service of a Defendant in Small Claims Court
The court will provide a copy of the Affidavit and Claim that you filed to the Defendant. In addition to the filing fee, the plaintiff is also responsible for paying 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. Service can be made by either certified mail or in person.
Option for a Defendant After Being Sued in Small Claims Court
A defendant has the following options after being sued in small claims court:
- 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)
Who Hears My Case in Ogemaw County Small Claims Court
Juries are not available for a small claims court case. Cases in small claims court are heard by either a district 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). In most instances, an attorney magistrate will hear your case.
Removal of a Small Claims Court Case to 82nd 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. Either party can request to move the case out of small claims 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. The document needs to be filed before the small claims court trial or hearing. The form can be found here.
What Happens at a Small Claims Court Hearing
The plaintiff presents his or her evidence first. The defendant presents his or her evidence once the plaintiff’s presentation of evidence is complete. If the plaintiff does not show up for the hearing, the court will likely 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.
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. 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. Here are some examples of common types of small claims court cases:
- 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