Serving a Defendant in Hendry County Small Claims Court Cases
Once a case is filed, the Plaintiff needs to take steps to serve all the Defendants which were named in the case. It is very important that you have the full name of the individual you want to sue. You also need to a good address of where that person can be served. In order to sue a business, you must determine whether the business is incorporated. If the business has incorporated, the plaintiff needs to ascertain the full name of the corporation and the name and address of a corporate officer or registered agent. This information can be learned from the Department of State, Department of Corporations website for Florida which can be found online at http://www.sunbiz.org or by telephone at 850-245-6052. You also need to learn if the business is operating under a ficitious name. The Department of Corporations can assist you with this.
How do I file a small claims court case in Hendry County?
You need to contact the Hendry Clerk’s Office and obtain and complete a Statement of Claim form. You should type or print your claim on the form using a pen to make sure it’s legible to the defendant as well as the court.
Hendry County Small Claims Court Courthouse
Small Claims Court cases in Hendry County can be filed at the Hendry County Courthouse which is at: 25 Hickpochee Avenue LaBelle, FL 33935 The phone number for the courthouse is: 863-675-5217.
What Jurisdiction does the Hendry County Small Claims Court Have?
In Florida, you can only file a small claims court action in the county where the Defendant lives, where the situation giving rise to the action occurred, or where the property involved is situated. If none of these apply, then the Hendry County Small Claims Court will not have proper jurisdiction to hear the case. If the court does not have jurisdiction, this would allow the judgment you obtain to be attacked by the defendant afterwards when you begin to collect it. Claims up to $5,000.00 (not including interest, attorney fees, or costs) can be filed in small claims court. Rule 7.010 of the Florida rules of Court and Chapter 34 of the Florida Statutes is what authorizes the claim limit for small claims court cases.
Hendry County Small Claims Court Pre-Trial Conference
The pre-trial conference is a way for the court to try and resolve your case without a trial (often through informal mediation). If the case cannot be settled, the court will set it for trial. It is important for the plaintiff to ensure that the Defendant (and all of them) have been served prior to the pre-trial conference, or the court will cancel the pre-trial conference date. Appearance at the pre-trial conference is mandatory. A person representing someone else at a pre-trial conference needs to have full settlement authority otherwise the court may award court costs and attorneys fees against a party that does not comply with this. A corporation may be represented at the pre-trial conference by an officer of the corporation or any employee authorized by an officer of the corporation. Multiple defendants may have pre-trial conferences set on different dates. If this occurs, the plaintiff is still requires to attend all the different pre-trial conference dates.
Are Jury Trials available in Hendry County Small Claims Court Cases?
Jury trials are available in small claims court cases in Florida. Even though a jury trial is available, the large majority of small claims court cases are heard in front of a judge. The plaintiff or defendant can both make a request for a jury trial. Pursuant to Small Claims Court Rule 7.150, the plaintiff can file a written demand for a jury trial when filing the suit, and a defendant can request a jury trial either within five days of being served notice of the action or at the pre-trial conference. If neither the plaintiff or defendant request a jury trial, the case will be tried in front of a judge.
Types of Cases Not Handled in Hendry County Small Claims Court
Florida Small Claims Court cases cannot handle cases involving the following items:
- mortgage payments
- traffic court fines
Rules Governing Small Claims Court Cases in Hendry County
All small claims court cases in Florida are governed by the Florida Small Claims Rules.
Before Filing your Hendry County Small Claims Court Case
Prior to filing a Hendry County Small Claims Court case, you should try and discuss with the opposing party about what is actually being contested. The best way to accomplish this is to write a short succint letter outling your position and deliver it to the other party. You may be able to resolve your case without going to court. Sending this initial communicaiton will be the simplest and most efficient way of resolving your case.
Hendry County Small Claims Court Costs and Fees
The costs for filing a Small Claims case in Hendry County include the filing fee, which is based on the amount of your claim, as well as a service fee for summoning each party to court. If a party obtains a judgment in its favor, these court costs can be added into the total amount of the judgment. You should contact the Hendry County Clerk Court to inquire about the specific amount of the filing fee for your case.
Who May File a Hendry County Small Claims Court Case?
A person can file a small claims court case in Florida if any of the following apply:
- Someone 18 years of age and older
- You are the parent or guardian of a minor and are filing on their behalf
- For corporations, an officer may file on behalf of the corporation provided there is written authorization