What follows is a brief but informative summary of rules, procedures, and filings requirements for small claims court in the state of Delaware. 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.
Note that Delaware does not have Small Claims Courts. Cases are heard by the Justice of the Peace.
Maximum Jurisdictional Dollar Amount: The maximum dollar amount is $15,000.
Where Suit May Be Brought: Any county.
Proper Manner of Service of Process upon Defendant: Service may be made by certified mail, sheriff, deputy, coroner, constable, or court-designated individual.
How the Hearing Date Is Selected: The hearing date is set by the court.
Attorney Representation Rule: Attorneys are allowed.
Special Provisions Regarding Transfer or Jurisdiction of Cases: There is no provision.
Availability of Appeals: Either litigant may appeal for a new trial to Superior Court within 15 days.
Special Rules and Notes: Jury trials are generally not allowed. Defendant must file written answer within 15 days after service is made, or will lose by default. Interest due on any cause of action may be added to the claim, even if adding it will make the amount exceed $15,000. If defendant’s counterclaim against plaintiff exceeds $15,000, plaintiff can still pursue the counterclaim in Justice of the Peace Court since there is no provision for transfer to another court. If defendant wins the counterclaim, two options are available: (1) the court will note the outcome on the record and defendant can prosecute the cause of action in higher court, or (2) defendant may waive the excess over $15,000 and accept $15,000 as the judgment.
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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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