What follows is a brief but informative summary of rules, procedures, and filings requirements for small claims court in Arizona. Keep in mind that rules and laws change. It’s always a good idea to confirm the rules with the court or with further research.
Maximum Jurisdictional Dollar Amount: The maximum dollar amount is $2500 in the small claims division and $5,000 in regular justice court.
Where Suit May Be Brought: Case may be brought where the defendant resides. Intentional torts cases are heard where the act occurred. Cases to recover personal property are heard where the property is. Contract cases may be brought where the performance expected. Cases against nonresident defendants are brought where plaintiff resides.
Proper Manner of Service of Process upon Defendant: Service may be made by certified or registered mail with return receipts requested, sheriff, deputy, court-approved adult or private process server.
How the Hearing Date Is Selected: The hearing date is set by the court within 60 days of the filing of the answer.
Attorney Representation Rule: Attorneys are not allowed unless both sides agree in writing.
Special Provisions Regarding Transfer or Jurisdiction of Cases: Counterclaims over $2,500 or objections at least ten days before hearing (for right of appeal and jury), transfers to Justice Court. For counterclaims over $5,000 transfer is allowed to Superior Court.
Availability of Appeals: Appeals are not allowed in Small Claims Division, but are allowed following decisions in Justice Court.
Special Rules and Notes: Injunctive relief is available. Defendant must answer within 20 days or lose by default. No discovery is allowed. Jury trials are not available. No cases for libel or slander, forcible entry or unlawful detainer, specific performance, prejudgment remedies, injunctions, cases against the state or cases involving ownership of real estate. Right to sue may not be transferred.
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Michael Spadaccini is the author of 8 books on self-help legal matters such as, Ultimate LLC Compliance Guide: Covers All 50 States (Ultimate Series), Ultimate Book of Forming Corps, LLCs, Partnerships & Sole Proprietorships, and Ultimate Guide to Forming an LLC in Any State, Second Edition (Ultimate Series).
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