Jury Trial in Small Claims Court in Volusia County
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. Either the plaintiff or defendant may request 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 neither the plaintiff or defendant request a jury trial, the case will be tried in front of a judge.
Who Can File a Small Claims Court Case in Volusia County?
The following people can file a small claims court case:
- Someone 18 years of age and older
- Parents or Guardians can file on behalf of a minor
- For corporations, an officer may file on behalf of the corporation provided there is written authorization
Serving a Defendant in Volusia 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. The plaintiff needs to know the full names of all the individuals you are suing. The plaintiff also needs a good address of where those individuals can be served. If you are suing a business, you need to ascertain whether the business is incorporated or not. If a corporation is being sued, you must have the full name of the corporation and the name and address of a corporate officer or registered agent for the business. This information can be obtained through the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations at 850-245-6052 or online at http://www.sunbiz.org. If a business has a fictitious name, you will need to obtain that as well. The fictitious name information can be obtained through the Department of State, Division of Corporations as well.
Volusia County Small Claims Court Pre-Trial Conference
The pre-trial conference is used for the court to attempt to see if your case can be resolved without a trial. This is usually done with an informal settlement conference or mediation. If the case cannot be settled, the court will set it for trial. You need to make sure the Defendant has been served prior to the pre-trial conference or it will be cancelled by the court. Pre-trial conference appearances 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. A corporation can be represented by any officer of the corporation or an employee that is so designated by an officer of that corporation. 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.
What Jurisdiction does the Volusia County Small Claims Court Have?
In Florida, small claims court actions can only be filed in the county where the Defendant lives, where the incident giving rise to the action occurred, or where the property involved is located. If none of these apply, the court would not have jurisdiction and would be unable to hear your 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. This is authorized under Rule 7.010 of the Florida Rules of Court and Chapter 34 of the Florida Statutes.
Court Costs and Fees for Volusia County Small Claims Court
The costs for filing a Small Claims case in Volusia 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 final judgment is entered in your favor, these costs can be added to the total amount of your judgment. You should contact the Volusia County Clerk Court to inquire about the specific amount of the filing fee for your case.
Types of Cases Not Handled in Volusia County Small Claims Court
Florida Small Claims Court cases cannot handle cases involving the following items:
- mortgage payments
- traffic fines
Rules Governing Small Claims Court Cases in Volusia County
Small Claims court cases in Volusia County are governed by the Florida Small Claims Rules.
How to Prepare to File a Small Claims Court Case in Volusia County
Prior to filing a Volusia County Small Claims Court case, you should try and discuss with the opposing party about what is actually being contested. The easiest way for this is to draft and deliver a letter to the other party which succintly details your complaint. 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.
Filing a Small Claims Court Case in Volusia County Small Claims Court
You need to contact the Volusia Clerk’s Office and obtain and complete a Statement of Claim form. The form should be typed or printed with a pen to ensure it is legible.
Volusia County Small Claims Court Courthouse
Small claims court cases can be filed at the Volusia County Courthouse which is located at: 101 N. Alabama Avenue Deland, FL 32724 The phone number for the Volusia County Court is: 386-822-5710.