What is Small Claims?
Small Claims is a dispute resolution option in the district court for money dispute in the amount of $5,500 or less. The Small Claims process is designed to expedite the resolution of the dispute. To proceed under Small Claims rules, the parties must agree to waive the right to a jury trial, right to attorney representation and the right to appeal beyond District Court.
The information below has been prepared by the 47th District court as a general overview of the Small Claims process. It is not intended to take the place of professional legal advice.
The proper court in which to file your Small Claims actions is where the other party lives, does business or where the incident occurred.
To file make sure you are bringing the claim against the proper party and you have the defendant’s proper name and address. You must have the correct address for the service of the summons.
To make a claim at the 47th District Court, complete and bring the “Affidavit and Claim” form with the appropriate filing fee and any other fee that applies to the 47th District Court Civil Division. You may obtain the form from any District Court or by clicking the link below.
Affidavit and Claim Form
Small Claims Filing Fees (SC)
|Up to $600
|$601 - $1,750
|$1751 - $5,500
The defendant must be served with the Small Claims Affidavit. Service can be done by certified mail or by personal service. Prices are per defendant.
Certified mail service must be completed by the Court.
Certified Mail Fees
|To a business
|To an individual
Service by a process server will be made by the Court approved process server. If an incorrect address is provided, the plaintiff may be invoiced an additional $10.00 fee by the process server for attempted service at the incorrect address.
Process Server Fees
|To a business
|To an individual
Upon service, the defendant my file an answer to the complaint within 21 days of service and must appear at the scheduled hearing. If, as the defendant, you feel you have a claim against the person suing you, you may file that “counterclaim” in writing. The counterclaim may be served by first class mail.
Either party may have the case moved from Small Claims to General Civil.
Demand and Order For Removal Form
If the parties reach an agreement before trial, the plaintiff should notify the Court prior to the hearing date that the case is dismissed.
If the plaintiff fails to appear for the scheduled hearing, the case will be dismissed. If after proper service, the defendant fails to appear for the scheduled hearing, a default judgment will be entered against the defendant.
Each side should come prepared with any evidence and/or witnesses needed to present his/her case. During the hearing each party has an opportunity to present their case and cross-examine the other party’s presentation.
A verdict in the plaintiff’s favor does not mean the defendant will pay the judgment and the costs immediately. You may have to take additional steps to obtain the money. In some cases, success in collecting may depend on whether the other party has the money to pay. If not, the effort and cost to file and proceed may not be worth it.
Oakland County Mediation Center
550 Hulet Dr # 102, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302
Mediation is a dispute resolution alternative to filing a court case. This non-profit Michigan Corporation provides community mediation services to Oakland County residents.