What follows is a brief but informative summary of rules, procedures, and filings requirements for small claims court in Rhode Island. 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 $1,500.
Where Suit May Be Brought: Case may be brought where either plaintiff or defendants resides. A corporation is deemed to reside where it does business.
Proper Manner of Service of Process upon Defendant: Service may be made by certified or registered mail (note: service is binding on defendant who refuses to accept), or service may be made by sheriff, deputy, constable or court-approved adult.
How the Hearing Date Is Selected: The hearing date is set by the court.
Attorney Representation Rule: Attorneys are allowed and are required for corporations, except close and family corporations with less than $1 million in assets.
Special Provisions Regarding Transfer or Jurisdiction of Cases: If defendant counterclaims for more than $1,500 and court approves, the case may be tried under regular civil procedure of District Court.
Availability of Appeals: Defendant may appeal only for new trial. Appeals are to Superior Court for new trial.
Special Rules and Notes: No personal injury or property damage cases. The court may order installment payments. Consumers may bring actions for contracts (including sale of personal property) and for damages resulting from a retail sale or delivery service.
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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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