About Small Claims Court
Small Claims Court provides a forum allowing parties to resolve money disputes up to $6,500. In small claims cases, parties represent themselves. You may not have an attorney represent you. Your case will be heard by a Magistrate.
To start a small claims lawsuit, the cause of action must have occurred within Eaton County or the defendant must reside in or do business in Eaton County.
Deciding to File a Claim
Before filing a claim, you should assess the probability of being able to collect on the judgment should you be successful. A judgment does not ensure payment, it means you have proven to the satisfaction of the court, the individual you sued owes you the specified amount of money. You have 6 years to collect this judgment.
Having your case heard in the Small Claims Division, you are giving up the following rights:
- Claims over $6,500
- The right to appeal to a higher court
- The right to have an attorney present
- The right to a jury trial
While the staff of this court will try to assist either party to an action, it is helpful to understand:
- Our clerks are not attorneys and are prohibited by law from providing any legal advice.
- The judges, who are attorneys, may not give advice on matters they may have to rule on.
- This court can render money judgments only and has no power to force anyone to do something or to stop doing something.