Seminole County Small Claims Court Courthouse
Small Claims cases can be filed at the Seminole County Courthouse which is located at: 301 N. Park Avenue Sanford, FL 32771 The courthouse can be reached at: 407-665-4330.
Service of Defendant in a Seminole County Small Claims Case
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 an 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. The plaintiff can search for this information on the Florida Department of State, Department of Corporation websites at http://www.sunbiz.org or by phone at 850-245-6052. The plaintiff also needs to research whether a business is utilizing a fictitious business name. The fictitious name information can be obtained through the Department of State, Division of Corporations as well.
How do I file a small claims court case in Seminole County?
The party filing the case needs to complete a Statement of Claim form (which can be obtained from the Seminole Court Clerk’s Office). The form needs to be typed or printed with a pen to ensure the legibility.
Cases that Cannot Be Filed in Seminole County Small Claims Court
Seminole County Small Claims Court handles all types of cases except:
- alimony payments
- traffic court fines
Rules for Seminole Small Claims Court Cases
Small Claims court cases in Seminole County are governed by the Florida Small Claims Rules.
Preparing to File a Seminole County Small Claims Court Case
Prior to filing a Seminole 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. This may resolve your issue before you even have to file a case. Sending this initial communicaiton will be the simplest and most efficient way of resolving your case.
Seminole County Small Claims Court Fees and Costs
Costs for filing a small claims court case in Seminole County consist of the filing fee (which is based on the amount of money you are seeking in your claim) and a service fee for bringing each defendant to court. If a party prevails in the case, it can add the costs and fees into the judgment and recover for those costs as well. Contact the Seminole County Court Clerk for the specific amount of the filing fee for your specific case.
Pre-Trial Conferences for Seminole County Small Claims Court Cases
A pre-trial conference is an attempt to resolve or settle the case through a Mediation Agreement. If the case cannot be settled, it will be set for trial on the judge’s trial docket. You need to make sure the Defendant has been served prior to the pre-trial conference or it will be cancelled by the court. Appearances at pre-trial conferences by both plaintiff and defendant are mandatory. Persons representing parties must have full settlement authority otherwise the court may impose court costs and attorney fees on the party failing to comply with this rule. At a pre-trial conference, a corporation can be represented by an officer of an employee if the employee has been designated by an officer. Depending on how many defendants are involved in a case and when each defendant was served, the court may schedule different dates for pre-trial conferences on the same case. The plaintiff is still required to attend all of these pre-trial conferences.
Can I have a jury in my Seminole County Small Claims Court Case?
A jury trial is available in a small claims court case in Florida. A large majority of cases are handled and tried in front of a judge rather than a jury. The plaintiff or defendant can both make a request for a jury trial. The plaintiff can request a jury trial at the time the case is initially filed, and the defendant can make a request for the same within five days of being served or at the pre-trial conference. (Small Claims Court Rule 7.150). If either of these do not occur, then the case will be tried in front of a judge.
Filing a Small Claims Court Case in Seminole County
In Florida, a small claims court case can only be filed in the county where the incident giving rise to the claim occurred, the property involved in the case sits, or where the Defendant lives. If none of these apply, then the Seminole County Small Claims Court will not have proper jurisdiction to hear the case. If this occurs, you risk obtaining a judgment that can then be challenged and attacked by the defendant after the case when you begin to collect it (which would mean you would have to start all over in the proper county). A claim of up to $5,000.00, not including costs, interest, and attorneys fees, can be filed in small claims court in Seminole County. This is authorized under Rule 7.010 of the Florida Rules of Court and Chapter 34 of the Florida Statutes.
Who May File a Seminole County Small Claims Court Case?
A person can file a small claims court case in Florida if any of the following apply:
- You are 18 years or older
- Parents or Guardians can file on behalf of a minor
- A corporate officer on behalf of the corporation (requires written authorization)