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.