Locations for Small Claims Court in DuPage County
Small Claims Court cases are heard at:DuPage County Judicial Center 505 North County Farm Road Wheaton, IL 60187
The court’s website is here. The circuit court clerk takes care of all documents and files for court cases. The circuit clerk’s address is:P.O. Box 707 Wheaton, Illinois 60187-0707
The clerk’s phone number for the court is: 630-407-8700
The clerk’s fax number for the court is: 630-407-8575
Does a Judge or Jury hear my case in DuPage County Small Claims Court?
DuPage County allows for a small claims court case to be either a bench (judge) or jury trial. If you are seriously considering requesting a jury trial, it is recommended that you speak with and seek advice from an attorney before making that request. A jury trial (which can be in front of six or twelve jurors) is highly complex and requires significantly more preparation than a trial in front of a judge. Requesting a jury trial also has additional costs for the party making the request.
How to Prepare for a Small Claims Court Trial
A party preparing for a small claims court trial should prepare the case to make a clear, understandable presentation to a judge. Before the trial date, you should gather any pieces of evidence that will help you explain your side of the case including any contracts, receipts, photographs, or other documents. It is recommended to prepare a short chronology of events or description of all of the facts surrounding your case. Details including dates, times, and values of damages or items purchased will be important for the court to take note of (and should have been included in your initial complaint if you are the plaintiff). You should also take steps to secure the attendance of any witnesses that have information to help your case. Ensure the witness is aware of the exact date, time, and location of your small claims court case. If the person refuses to come to court, you may need to take steps to issue a subpoena for them to attend.
Service of a DuPage County Small Claims Court Defendant
After a complaint is filed, the next step is for the plaintiff to affect service of the complaint on the defendant(s). Serving an individual is easy (if an address is known). But if the party is a corporate entity, it can be more difficult determining the correct procedure. Illinois allows for service of a corporate entity on the corporation’s office or registered agent. A plaintiff should visit the Illinois Secretary of State website to obtain the addresses for the corporate entity (and registered agents).
How do I file a case in small claims court?
A small claims court case begins with a party filing a document called the complaint. A small claims complaint can be obtained at the court clerk’s office. The party that files the complaint is called the plaintiff. The party being sued in the complaint is called the defendant.
Who can be a plaintiff in small claims court?
Small claims court can be used by any resident of Illinois or Illinois corporation (both as a plaintiff or a defendant). The court may require the appointment of a guardian for those parties under the age of 18. If a corporation sues in small claims court, they will need to be represented by an attorney. However, if a corporation is sued, it can be represented by certain officials at the company including an officer, manager, or registered agent.
DuPage County Small Claims Court
In DuPage County, small claims court allows a plaintiff to bring a case if the amount is $10,000 or less. Rules and procedures for small claims court have been simplified to allow cases to be tried faster and by people who are not attorneys.
After the Small Claims Court Hearing
If the judge rules in favor of the plaintiff, the judge can issue an order or judgment awarding the plaintiff monetary damages. Illinois law requires that either party wishing to appeal the judgment in small claims court needs to be filed the appeal within thirty days of the date the judgment is entered by the court.
What Types of Cases are handled in DuPage County Small Claims Court?
Only the following types of cases can be filed in small claims court under Illinois law:
- breach of contract
- property damage
- personal injury
- repossessions of personal property that was leased or purchased on credit
- garnishment case against a debtor
The maximum judgment that can be allowed in small claims court is $10,000 (plus costs).
What to Expect at a DuPage County Small Claims Court Trial
At a trial in front of a judge, the court determines the facts of the case after listening to the evidence provided by both the plaintiff and defendant. The judge will also listen to any witness testimony and will review exhibits offered by either the plaintiff or the defendant. The plaintiff presents their side first. The defendant presents their case after the plaintiff has concluded their presentation. It is imperative that you speak slowly and clearly for the judge to be able to understand your side of the case. Normally, people will naturally be inclined to be nervous when speaking in public (and in front of a court), so it is recommended you practice discussing your side of the case in front of another person (spouse, relative, neighbor, friend) so you get more comfortable speaking about it.
Is an Attorney Able to Represent Me in Small Claims Court?
Both plaintiffs and defendants are allowed to be represented by attorneys in small claims court or you can represent yourself. However, corporations acting as plaintiffs are required to be represented by an attorney.
Can I file a case in DuPage County?
Illinois law requires a small claims court case to be filed in the county where one of the defendants live or in the county where the incident or transaction involved in the case occurred. For example, if your case involves a car accident and the car accident occurs in DuPage County, you can file the case here.
Before Filing a Small Claims Court Case
Before a party files a case in small claims court, it is recommended to contact the party directly by sending a demand letter. A demand letter is simply a letter spelling out clearly and concisely what your case is and why you feel you are entitled to monetary damages. A demand letter is ideal because it takes time for a case to make its way through the courts toward a resolution. Additionally, collection of any court award takes additional time and is never guaranteed. Drafting and sending a demand letter allows for both parties to explore the possibility of a settlement even before a case is filed. Drafting a demand letter also allows the plaintiff to explain the case in a brief manner (which has to be done when the complaint is filed in the court).