Settlements & Hearings
Settlement Prior to the Hearing Date
Often the defendant may want to settle out of court before the hearing date. If this occurs and the claim is paid, you should file a voluntary dismissal with the court.
Small Claims Mediation Hearing
On the date the mediation is set:
- You must bring all paperwork, witnesses, and evidence to prove your case. No adjournments will be granted to permit you to bring these at a later date.
One of several things may occur on the scheduled date:
- The defendant may appear and refuse to submit to the small claims division and request a Demand and Order for Removal form.
- If this is done the case will be transferred to the General Civil Division, which is the defendant's right. The defendant must then file an answer in writing within 14 days of the transfer and a new date will be set.
- The defendant may appear, admit liability for your claim and a consent judgment will be entered.
- The defendant may fail to appear. If the plaintiff has proper service and the plaintiff can prove to the court they have a proper claim, a default judgment will be entered.
- The defendant may appear, disagree with the claim, agree to have it mediated in small claims division and mediation will be held.
The Mediation Process
- The mediation is an informal matter. You will present your case to the Mediator, not a Judge. State your claim as simply as possible. If necessary refer to the papers or evidence you have brought with you.
- The person you are suing will then have an opportunity to tell the Mediator why they feel they do not owe you what you claim.
- After all testimony and evidence has been presented, the Mediator will render a decision.
- If either party disagrees with the Mediators decision, they will have the opportunity to have the case presented before a Judge. A hearing with the Judge will be scheduled for a later date.
Lack of Appearance & Dismissal
If service has been made and neither the plaintiff or the defendant appear, or the defendant appears but the plaintiff does not, the claim will be dismissed by the court.