Michigan Small Claims Forms - Small Claims Court Michigan

Michigan Small Claims Court FAQ Michigan Small Claims Court Forms

Who hears the claims in small claims court?

In small claims court, the trial is an informal hearing before a judge. There is no jury and the plaintiff presents his or her evidence and witnesses. The defendant is also responsible for presenting his or her witnesses. After hearing both sides of the dispute, the judge will render a verdict based on the law and the facts presented.

Who may file a claim in small claims court?  An individual, partnership or corporation (or LLC) may file a claim against another individual(s), partnership or corporation (LLC) in small claims court, if jurisdiction exists to hear the claim, if the amount of the claim does not exceed the statutory limits.

What must I do before I file a claim?  Before you file a claim, get the facts straight so you can complete the forms correctly and answer any questions court personnel may need to know. Be sure to obtain the correct legal name of the defendant, correct address and place/address of employment. If the defendant is a corporation or LLC you would use the legal corporate or LLC name as the defendant. 

How do I file a claim?  The plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney should go to the small claims division of the district court in the particular county where the person or business to be sued has an office or is domiciled and file a Statement of  Claim Form. The plaintiff is responsible for furnishing the court with the correct and complete address of the defendant. The clerk will assign the plaintiff a case number and this number must be used whenever contacting the court concerning the particular case. A filing fee is required at the time the claim is filed. If the plaintiff cannot afford to prepay the fee at the time of the filing, he or she can submit an Affidavit of Substantial Hardship and request that the judge delay the payment. 

Who serves the defendant with summons or process and how is the defendant served?  The clerk of the court will issue a summons ordering the defendant to appear in court. The summons and the complaint must be served on the defendant. The summons and the complaint may be served by certified or registered mail. If the court provides this service, there may be an additional fee. If the defendant cannot be served using these methods, the precinct constable or any registered private process server will serve the summons and complaint for a fee. 

How are hearings scheduled? The clerk of the court will provide you with the procedure to set the case for trial or hearing at the time you file your claim. 

May I subpoena witnesses? If witnesses are required, but unwilling to attend the hearing unless they are subpoenaed, you may obtain a subpoena issued by the court clerk for service on the witness. The subpoena is an order for the witness to appear at the hearing to testify. Some employer may require that an employee be subpoenaed in order to be excused from work. 

What are the trial procedures? The trial procedure is generally more informal than other courts. The case will usually be called in open court and you will respond that you are present and ready to proceed. You will then be advised when to present your claim. Be prepared to present your claim in your own words. Be prepared to question witnesses if witnesses are needed. 

What happens if the defendant does not appear at trial?  If the defendant does not appear at trial, a default judgment will be entered in the plaintiff's favor for the amount of the claim or other relief. After judgment is obtained and the appeal time has expired, the plaintiff may seek to collect the judgment by acceptable means of collection. 

What are the common forms used in small claims court?  Common forms used in small claims court are:

  • Claim Statement/Complaint
  • Summons
  • Return of Summons
  • Answer
  • Subpoena
  • Abstract of Judgment

What Is a Small Claims Court?

A small claims court is a place where regular people can go to resolve legal disputes without needing a lawyer. It is designed to handle minor cases involving money or property under a certain dollar amount. In Michigan, the small claims court allows individuals to present their case before a judge and seek a fair judgment for a problem they have encountered. The court process is usually simpler and faster than a regular court, and the judges help both parties find a resolution that is fair and just. It is a helpful resource for people who want to solve small problems without getting caught up in the complexities of the legal system.

Why File a Small Claims Case?

There are several reasons why it might be a good idea to file a small claims case in Michigan. Firstly, if someone owes you money or has caused damage to your property, filing a small claims case can help you seek compensation for your losses. It's a way to resolve legal disputes in a simple and cost-effective manner without the need for hiring an expensive attorney. Additionally, filing a small claims case allows you to have your day in court and present your case to a judge, who will decide on the outcome. So, if you are looking for a straightforward way to seek justice and resolve a dispute, filing a small claims case in Michigan can be a smart move.

Small Claims Court Limits for Each State

Small Claims Court limits vary from state to state but generally refer to the maximum amount of money a person can sue for in a small claims court. In Michigan, the Small Claims Court limit is currently set at $6,000. This means that if someone wants to bring a legal action claiming an amount exceeding $6,000, they would not be able to do so in a Small Claims Court in Michigan. The purpose of these limits is to provide a more accessible and simplified legal process for resolving small disputes without the need for costly attorneys or complex procedures.

Small Claims Demand Letter Example

A small claims demand letter is a written request for payment or resolution of a dispute without going to court. It is an example of a simple way to seek compensation after a small problem or issue in Michigan. Using plain and understandable language, the letter clearly explains the problem, details the desired outcome, and sets a deadline for the other party to respond. The letter is written by the person or party seeking payment or resolution and can be used as evidence if the case progresses to court. This letter helps people express their concerns and hopefully find a fair solution without the need for a complex legal process.

Filing a Small Claims Case in 5 Steps

Filing a small claims case in Michigan can be done in five easy steps. The first step is to determine if your case falls under the jurisdiction of small claims court and if the amount you are seeking is within the court's limit. Next, you need to gather all the necessary documentation and evidence to support your case, such as receipts, contracts, and photographs. Step three is to fill out the required forms, including the complaint form, at your local district court. After completing the forms, you must pay the filing fee to officially submit your case. Finally, you must serve the defendant with a copy of the complaint and file a proof of service with the court. Following these steps will help you navigate the process of filing a small claims case in Michigan smoothly and efficiently.