Missouri Small Claims Forms - Small Claims

Missouri Small Claims Court FAQ Missouri 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 type of court that helps people resolve their disputes when the amount of money involved is small. In Missouri, a small claims court is where you go to ask a judge to rule in your favor concerning a disagreement with another person or business. The court is designed to be easily accessible and affordable for regular people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. It is usually fast and informal, and both sides can present their argument and provide evidence to support their case. The judge will listen to both parties and make a fair decision based on the facts presented.

Why File a Small Claims Case?

Filing a small claims case in Missouri can be useful for various reasons. Firstly, it offers an accessible and straightforward way to resolve disputes involving relatively small amounts of money, typically under $5,000. By filing a small claims case, individuals can seek financial compensation for damages or losses they have suffered, such as unpaid rent or repairs. This legal avenue allows people to assert their rights without hiring an expensive attorney or navigating complex legal procedures. Small claims cases in Missouri can provide a fair and efficient means of resolving conflicts, ensuring that individuals have a chance to pursue justice and recover their rightful dues.

Small Claims Court Limits for Each State

Small claims court is a legal venue that allows individuals to resolve disputes involving small sums of money without the need for expensive legal representation. Every state in the United States has its own limit for the maximum amount of money that can be claimed in small claims court. In Missouri, the limit for small claims court is $5,000. This means that if someone wants to sue another person for a debt, property damage, or any other type of claim, they can do so in Missouri's small claims court as long as the amount being claimed does not exceed $5,000. It's important to remember that these limits vary from state to state, so it's always a good idea to check the specific rules and regulations of the state you reside in before taking any legal action in small claims court.

Small Claims Demand Letter Example

A small claims demand letter is a simple and straightforward way to try and resolve a dispute in Missouri. If you find yourself in a situation where someone owes you money or has damaged your property, you can write a demand letter to ask them to fulfill their obligations or compensate you for the damages. In the letter, you should clearly explain what they did wrong, the amount of money they owe you, and provide any relevant evidence or documentation to support your claim. It's important to be concise, polite, and specific in the letter, giving the other party a chance to resolve the matter voluntarily before escalating it to a small claims court.

Filing a Small Claims Case in 5 Steps

Filing a small claims case in Missouri is a straightforward process that can be broken down into five simple steps. First, gather all relevant documents and evidence that support your case. This can include contracts, invoices, receipts, photos, and any other relevant information. Next, determine the correct jurisdiction and venue for your case, which is usually the district court where the incident occurred or where the defendant resides. Once you have this information, complete the necessary forms, such as the Statement of Claim and the Precise for Service, ensuring you provide accurate and detailed information. After completing the forms, make multiple copies of the documents, keeping one for your records and providing the others for filing with the court. Lastly, pay the required filing fee, which may vary depending on the amount you are seeking in damages, and submit your forms to the clerk at the appropriate district court.