Oscoda County Small Claims Court, Michigan


Ruling After a Small Claims Court 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.

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

Small claims court only handles civil cases where the amount in dispute is $6,000 or less. Money is the only remedy a party can ask for in small claims court. If a plaintiff (or defendant in a counter-claim) is seeking specific property or an order from the court requiring a person to take certain action, the case should not be filed in small claims court. 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
  • Slander
  • Libel
  • Any action based on intentional harm or damages

How to File a Small Claims Court Case in Oscoda County

A party wishing to file a small claims court case needs to complete a form(print out and complete). The form needs to be filed with the court clerk. When submitting the filing, the plaintiff will need to pay a filing fee. Filings fees for small claims court cases 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). Along with the court case number, the clerk should provide you with the location, date, and time of the hearing for your case.

Oscoda County Small Claims Court Hearings

The plaintiff presents his or her evidence first. The defendant will then have the chance to present their side. 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.

Settling a Small Claims Court

Frequently, a court may attempt to resolve a case without an actual hearing. 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. 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. 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.

Defendant’s Options in Small Claims 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)

Small Claims Court in Oscoda County

Oscoda County Small Claims Court

Oscoda County Small Claims Court

Small Claims Court cases in Oscoda County Michigan are heard in 81st District Court. 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. A party does not need to know anything about the law to file a small claims court case. Attorneys are not allowed to appear in court or argue on behalf of clients 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). 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 81st District Court. The 81st District Court handles other types of civil cases along with criminal cases.

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). In addition to the filing fee, the plaintiff is also responsible for paying the cost of service of the defendant. Service is how the court ensures the defendant has notice of the nature of the lawsuit and the hearing date. The court uses personal service or certified mail to provide proper notice to the defendant.

Preparing for a Small Claims Court Hearing

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 sides will be given the opportunity to present their case. You should write out or prepare what you plan on saying ahead of time. 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.

Are Attorneys Allowed in Small Claims Court in Oscoda County?

Small claims court does not allow parties to be represented by attorneys. Neither the plaintiff nor defendant can be represented by an attorney in small claims court. 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.

Is there a Monetary Limit for Small Claims Court Cases in Oscoda County?

Small Claims courts 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.

Who Hears My Case in Oscoda County Small Claims Court

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.

Oscoda County Small Claims Court Location

81st District Court handles small claims court cases in Oscoda County. 81st District Court is located at:

PO Box 625
Oscoda County Courthouse Annex
105 S. Court Street
Mio, MI 48647

The phone number for Oscoda County District Court is: (989) 826-1105. The 81st District Court can be foundonline.

Where Should a case be filed?

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. 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. District court staff is prohibited by law from providing you legal advice, but we do recommend contacting them to confirm that the district court’s geographical jurisdiction covers the area where your case occurred.