1. Draft Statement of Claim and Summons
- File with court and pay filing fee.
- The maximum amount that can be claimed is $15,000.00.
2. Arrange for service of the Summons and Claim
- Claims less than $2,500.00: court administration serves the defendant by U.S. mail. If the mail doesn’t come back as “undeliverable” it is considered good service.
- Claims $2,501.00 up to $15,000.00: defendant must be served by certified mail or in person. An Affidavit of Service must be filed with the court.
3. Attend hearing
- All witnesses must be present. Usually the court expects you to exchange exhibits prior to the hearing.
- The Rules of Evidence apply in conciliation court but the court may use its discretion “in the interest of justice [to] receive otherwise inadmissible evidence.”
- If the plaintiff fails to appear at the trial, the court can dismiss the plaintiff’s case. If the defendant fails to appear at the trial, judgment will be entered against the defendant.
4. Judgment & docketing of judgment
- If a judgment is entered and the losing party does not pay the judgment within twenty days, the winning party must transcribe or “docket” the judgment in district court by filing an Affidavit of Identification and paying the filing fee. Judgments are not enforceable until they have been transcribed to district court.
5. Removal to district court
- If the losing party is not happy with the result of the case they can appeal or “remove” the case to district court before the expiration of the twenty days and paying the district court filing fee.
- Parties should be aware that in cases where the defendant does not have a good faith defense, there is the possibility that a court can award sanctions, including attorney fees incurred, to a party found to be acting in bad faith.
6. Collection remedies
- Pursue judgment collection remedies such as garnishment of wages or other assets.
Please feel free to contact us if you have a question about filing or defending a conciliation court claim.