Small Claims cases are informal. Parties are encouraged to represent themselves. However, you may hire an attorney if you wish.
Postponing the Trial
If you want to change the trial date, you must request a continuance. Fill out a Motion and Order to Continue (PDF). The court must receive your request for continuance at least 5 calendar days before trial.
Evidence and Witnesses
It is extremely important that you bring with you to trial all witnesses and papers necessary to prove your claim or defense. If you fail to do this, the case may be decided against you. The judge may allow hearsay that is probative, trustworthy and credible. If possible, witnesses should testify about their firsthand knowledge. However, if possible, a party should have witnesses to testify rather than rely on hearsay. Claims based largely on hearsay will generally be disallowed.
Evidence should be offered through the statements of live witnesses at trial, except that written statements such as repair bides, appraisals, repair bills and medical bills may be used instead of live testimony to establish the amount of a claim. If you intend to rely on such written statements, you should bring them with you.
If a judgment is granted, the winning party has the right to enforce the judgment. The losing party may be required to testify regarding assets and income. A judgment accrues interest and the prevailing party may be entailed to recover court costs accruing after judgment.
A judgment must be collected within 8 years of the date it is granted or it expires. When a judgment is paid, the winning party must file a Satisfaction of Judgment (PDF) with the court.
Either party may appeal a Small Claims judgment within 28 calendar days after the dismissal or judgment. A Notice of Appeal must be filed with the court that issued the judgment and the appropriate fee paid ($225.00 payable to the Third District Court and $10 to the Murray Court).