What follows is a brief but informative summary of rules, procedures, and filings requirements for small claims court in Louisiana. 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 $3,000.

Where Suit May Be Brought: Case may be brought where the defendant resides. A corporation is deemed to reside where it has an office or business establishment.

Proper Manner of Service of Process upon Defendant: Service may be made in the following ways: by certified mail with return receipt, sheriff, marshal, or constable.

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: City Court: if defendant counterclaims for more than $3,000, (or if defendant files written request within time allowed), the case shall be tried under regular civil procedure of City Court Justice of the Peace: if demand exceeds jurisdictional limit, case will be transferred to court of appropriate jurisdiction.

Availability of Appeals: City Court: Appeals are not allowed. Justice of the Peace: Either litigant may appeal for a new trial to District Court within 15 days.

Special Rules and Notes: In Louisiana’s urban parishes, small claims cases are heard in City Court. In rural parishes, cases are heard by the Justice of the Peace. Injunctive relief available in either court. Jury trials are not available. Case may be referred to arbitration if both sides consent. The court may order installment payments. Defendant must answer within ten days (15 if served through the secretary of state) or may loser by default. No real estate or family law cases. No class actions, summary proceedings, or incomplete proceedings allowed. Either party may request arbitration.

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