Small Claims

A Small Claims case is a legal action filed in county court to settle minor legal disputes among parties where the dollar amount involved is $5,000 or less, excluding costs, interest, and attorney fees. Because Small Claims court is considered a "people's court," it is not necessary to have an attorney to file a claim. Forms to file a small claims case are available at the County Civil Department at the Clerk's Office and here on our website. Attorneys are not precluded from this court, but are not required.

The Statement of Claim form is available at the Clerk's Office or on this website. If the form is signed outside of our office, it needs to be notarized. It can also be signed in the presence of a Deputy Clerk here at the Clerk's Office.

The case is filed in the county in which the incident took place. If the case is filed in the wrong county, the Defendant may ask the court to change the venue to the proper county.

Filing
When filing a Small Claims case, you need to be certain that you are suing the proper party. If you are suing a business, you should contact the Secretary of State at (850) 488-9000 to retrieve the information needed to have your summons served on the Registered Agent of the corporation. If you have any attachments to prove your claim, you must provide the Court with one copy for the file and one copy to be served on each defendant.

Service
You can have your summons served by the Sheriff, a process server, or by certified mail. Certified mail can only be served within the State of Florida.

Pre-Trial
When your case is filed, you will be given a Pre-Trial date. All parties will be required to attend. If your defendant is not served, your case will not go to court and you will have to file a request for the Clerk to prepare a new summons for service.

If there is service on your defendant, your case will go to a Pre-Trial Conference. The Judge will call your case and if the Plaintiff does not appear, the case will be dismissed. If the Defendant does not appear and the Plaintiff is present, a Default Judgment may be entered. If both parties are present, the Judge will ask the defendant to admit or deny the claim. If the defendant admits the claim, a Judgment based on this admission may be entered. If the Defendant denies the claim, a final hearing will be set for the Judge to resolve the issue.

Judgments
The court does not collect the Judgment for you. You may contact an attorney for guidance in collecting on a judgement.

Settlement
If you and the other party reach a settlement, the Clerk's office must be notified in writing prior to the court date so the case can be removed from the docket.
Show Hide

JURY

ALL PROSPECTIVE JURORS SUMMONED FOR SERVICE ON OCTOBER 22, 2018 AT 8:15 AM, YOUR SERVICES ARE NEEDED. PLEASE REPORT TO THE SUMTER COUNTY JUDICIAL BUILDING, 1ST FLOOR JURY ROOM. IF YOU RECEIVED A SUMMONS FOR OCTOBER 23, 2018, YOUR SERVICES ARE NOT NEEDED.