Small Claims Court

About Small Claims Court

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.

Relinquished Rights

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

Helpful Reminders

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.