The legal forum that most average citizens are familiar with is small claims court. This is a special court designed to handle civil suits in a fast and efficient manner. As the name suggests, the lawsuits heard in this type of court tend to be under a certain monetary threshold. Small claims can bring quick closure to legal disputes without all the hassles of a full-fledged civil suit. Read on to learn what distinguishes a small claims case from other legal matters.
At the heart of it, these courts hear cases between parties who dispute some aspect of an agreement. To qualify for small claims court, the amount in dispute must be under $11,000. This amount is referred to as the jurisdictional limit. What this means is that the court does not have jurisdiction over cases that involve an amount over $11,000. A party suing for an amount over the limit will need to do so in the appropriate district court.
The typical case in a small claims action involves some sort of contract dispute. For example, a customer may sue a business for improperly performing a service. In fact, almost any cause of action that can be used in civil court is valid in small claims. Yet, there are some limitations that you should be aware of.
The Utah Code limits some of the subject matter that can be the basis of a small claims lawsuit. You may not use small claims court to evict a tenant from a rental property. Yet, not all landlord-tenant issues are excluded, such as damages for property destruction. The rules also prohibit suing a government agency. Finally, under Utah Code section 78A-8-103, an assignee of a claim may not seek recovery in this court. It is important to be aware of the limitations before filing suit. You can speak to an experienced attorney at T.R. Spencer Law Office to ensure you case is filed correctly.
In Utah, small claims matters are heard by the Justice Courts. Each county in the state has a Justice Court that handles cases from within its boundaries. You will have to make sure that your case is filed in the right jurisdiction.
Successful plaintiffs will have a legal judgment that is enforceable at law. However, how does one actually go about collecting on this judgment? Several steps my have to occur as a plaintiff transitions in to a creditor. Usually, a creditor will try to garnish wages or put a lien on real property. However, to do so, there is a considerable amount of paperwork that must be filed. It can be a great help to use an experienced attorney during this process.
The small claims process is an informal setting to resolve everyday legal disputes. Yet, despite its relaxed nature, it can still be a complicated process. Remember, you have the right to hire an attorney in any small claims case. Speak with a business attorney for help with debt collection issues or civil mediation. You can always contact T.R. Spencer Law Office for help with legal issues in Utah.