What follows is a brief but informative summary of rules, procedures, and filings requirements for small claims court in West Virginia. 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 injury occurred. Contract cases may be brought where the breach occurred. Property insurance claims may be brought where the property is. Cases against nonresident defendants may be brought where plaintiff resides or Where the defendant has property or debts due. A corporation is deemed to reside where it has principal office or where chief officer resides. Cases against nonresident U.S. corporate defendants may be brought where the corporate defendant does business or where plaintiff resides.
Proper Manner of Service of Process upon Defendant: Service may be made by Sheriff. If that fails any credible disinterested adult or attorney in the case may personally serve the defendant.
How the Hearing Date Is Selected: Defendant has 20 days to appear (5 days in entry and detainer cases). Trial date set after defendant notifies court of intention to defend against claim.
Attorney Representation Rule: Attorneys are allowed and are required for collection agents.
Special Provisions Regarding Transfer or Jurisdiction of Cases: Transfers are allowed at magistrate’s discretion if defendant requests transfer in answer or within a reasonable time.
Availability of Appeals: Either litigant may appeal for a new trial to Circuit Court within 20 days.
Special Rules and Notes: No injunctive relief is available in small claims court. Defendant must answer within 20 days or lose by default. No libel or slander, real estate, false imprisonment or eminent domain cases. Claims against the state must be brought in the Court of Claims at the State Capitol. Eviction cases are allowed but time limit for action is five days.
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