What is a small claim case?
A small claim case is a claim that is valued at $6,000 or less. Small claims cases are filed in the district court. The 62B District Court is the proper venue for a cause of action which arose in Kentwood or for a defendant who is established or resides or is employed in Kentwood. If there is more than 1 defendant, actions shall be filed in the district in which any defendant is established or resides or is employed.
What should be considered before filing?
Before filing a small claim, a plaintiff should consider the following:
How collectible is a defendant?
How much you are suing for and the potential costs of enforcement of a small claims judgment?
Does the court conduct a trial in small claims?
Small claims are resolved in a hearing, and not a formal trial as with general civil matters. If the parties do not agree, there will be a hearing. In this district court, the hearing will be heard by the attorney magistrate.
May I bring a lawyer?
No. The law specifically exclude attorneys from representing anyone in small claims court.
Can a defendant move the case out of small claims?
Yes. A defendant may ask that the case be removed from the Small Claims Division and into General Civil Division. If moved into the General Civil Division, the parties may be represented by an attorney, ask for a jury trial, and have the right to appeal to the circuit court.
Are small claim judgments final?
Within 7 days after the hearing, either party may ask for a new trial before the judge. The decision by the judge is final. There are no further appeals.
What are the differences between the Small Claims Division and the General Civil Division?
In the Small Claims Division, there are no attorneys allowed and no jury trials. In the General Civil Division, the judge will preside at the trial, attorneys may represent the parties, the parties may ask for a jury trial, and both parties have a right to appeal the case to Circuit Court on the basis of any legal errors in the proceedings.
Are there alternate ways to handle the claim?
The 62-B District Court offers mediation services of the Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan. You may contact the resolution center at (616) 774-0121.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a conversation between parties with a trained mediator. The mediator helps the parties find a workable solution. Mediation works frequently to resolve the disputes. The advantage to settlement is that the parties agree on the resolution. In addition, mediation can avoid the adversarial setting of the court hearing.
What happens when parties come to an agreement before the hearing?
The parties must notify the court and the settlement will be entered.
Is mediation available on the day of the hearing?
The 62-B District Court frequently has mediators on hand during small claim proceedings. However, there is no guarantee on any particular day. Therefore, we recommend that you contact the Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan at (616) 774-0121..
Can I bring a claim about an automobile accident?
Michigan is a no fault state. Therefore, auto claims from a collision is limited to $1,000.00 if the defendant is insured. If the defendant is not insured, the plaintiff may sue for all of the damages incurred as a result of the defendant's negligence. Note: If this amount exceeds $6,000, the case must be brought in a general civil lawsuit.
Can I sue anyone in the 62-B District Court?
A suit can be brought in the 62-B District Court only if:
The claim arises out of an event that occurred in the City of Kentwood, or
The defendant resides in the City of Kentwood.
Can I bring any claim in Small Claims Court?
No, but most cases can be brought in small claims. There are specific cases that cannot be brought in small claim court, they are:
Defamation (libel and slander), and
Intentional Torts (e.g. Assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, etc.)
Small Claims Slideshow
The following slideshow is played& before the beginning of the small claim proceedings.