What follows is a brief but informative summary of rules, procedures, and filings requirements for small claims court in the state of Florida. 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 $5,000.
Where Suit May Be Brought: Cases should be brought where the defendant resides or where the injury occurred. Contracts cases can be heard: where agreed, if contract provides so, where unsecured note was signed, or where maker of note resides, or where breach of contract occurred. In cases to recover property, cases should be heard where the property is. A U.S. corporation is deemed to reside where it maintains office for customary business. An out-of-state corporation resides where it has an agent.
Proper Manner of Service of Process upon Defendant: Service may be made by registered mail with return receipt (Florida residents only), or by a peace officer or court-approved disinterested adult.
How the Hearing Date Is Selected: Within 60 days after pre-trial conference set by the court.
Attorney Representation Rule: Attorneys are allowed, the court may require attorneys to appear for collection agents and assignees.
Special Provisions Regarding Transfer or Jurisdiction of Cases: If defendant counterclaims for more than $2,500, the case is tried under regular civil procedure of the County Court.
Availability of Appeals: Appeals may be made by either side for review of law, but not for review of facts. Appeals are made to the Circuit Court within 30 days.
Special Rules and Notes: Injunctive relief is available. Jury trial is available. Party represented by attorney is subject to discovery. Defendant must file counterclaim in writing at least 5 days before appearance date. Eviction cases are allowed.
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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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