What follows is a brief but informative summary of rules, procedures, and filings requirements for small claims court in Massachusetts. 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 $2,000, but there is no limit for property damage caused by motor vehicles .
Where Suit May Be Brought: Where plaintiff or defendant resides or Where the defendant has regular business or is employed. Landlord-tenant cases Where property is.
Proper Manner of Service of Process upon Defendant: Service may be made by certified or registered mail, sheriff, 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: At judge’s discretion, the case shall be tried under regular civil procedure of appropriate court.
Availability of Appeals: The defendant may appeal for a new trial to Superior Court within 10 days.
Special Rules and Notes: In Massachusetts, Small Claims is a division of the Municipal Court in Boston, the District Court in the remainder of the Commonwealth. Small claims court cannot hear libel and/or slander cases. Court may refer cases to mediation if both sides agree. For consumer complaints, plaintiff must make a demand 30 days before filing suit. Attorneys fees can be recovered, and triple damages are available.
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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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