Missouri small claims court – MO Circuit Court

Courts in Missouri can have several divisions, such as an associate circuit court, probate, or family court. There are circuit courts in Missouri today for small claims division. One can file for up to 5000 USD for minor court proceedings

Missouri small claims.

Missouri small claims court

Without having to worry about money and time, people can easily navigate the judge’s decision, unlike legal lawsuits in the jury trials of high stake courts. One can file a maximum of 12 small claim cases in a calendar year. This makes the judicial setup accessible to people with standardized and simple court forms. There might be court clerks present for guidance, but that’s as far as it goes.

Any case with a value over 5000 USD can’t be filed in Missouri circuit courts. If such a complaint is raised, one can’t obtain value over the limit.

Every county in Missouri has its own circuit clerk’s office where these informal cases can be filed. One can easily skip the formalities in the small claims court in an inexpensive manner. This is the right court for all small claims that include money and is mostly used by a person to collect a debt.

Also Read: Missouri Inmate Search – MODOC

Types of Claims:

There isn’t a specified type of claim for Missouri circuit court.

  • Apparel and appliance damage
  • Repayment of loan
  • Restitution
  • False arrest cases
  • Breach of warranty
  • Defamation
  • Partial or complete denial of security deposit
  • Personal injury
  • Defective products sold
  • Malpractice
  • Intentional damage

Even then, cases like guardianship, parenting disputes, bankruptcy, and other such claims can’t be taken before the court judge.

The necessity of a Lawyer:

There are no court officials like attorneys needed as plaintiffs can act as their own. In some small claims proceedings, lawyers aren’t even allowed to file suits. But sometimes, an attorney might be needed if:

  1. There’s any uncertainty about the values mentioned.
  2. If the small claims case might exceed the limit.
  3. If the guidance isn’t enough and the form seems complicated.

If you’re a defendant in a case, being sued for something, proceeding with a lawyer might be a smart move.

How to File a Lawsuit?

All forms required by the court need to be filled in by the plaintiff. Along with that, he/ she also needs to present their evidence and other necessary documents supporting their side of their claim. The complaint filed should be brief, precise, and accurate. After proper identification, it is important to note the place of filing.

Filing claims in the venue can facilitate transfer or dismissal. Hence, one needs to file their cases in the right county by looking at where the defendant resides, where the incident occurred, or where the company/ business sued is located.

Looking at the time of validity is also important. The claim needs to fit in the statute of limitations for the particular issue. According to Missouri law, for most contract breaches, injuries, and damages, 5 years is the limitation period, and cases can be filed within 10 years of happening.

To file an appeal, one needs to do so within ten days of issuance, preferably on the date of the decision itself. A notification sent by the clerk regarding the judgment should be complied with and adhered to strictly. Personal service is recommended to avoid delays by the circuit courts even though it’s not mandatory.

Collecting Judgements

Once the petition is filed, a receipt will be mailed with the court date, time, and division for the claim’s proceedings to be held at. Any losing side can request a trial de novo from the court within 10 days of the decision. Once the judgment has been passed, one can collect their money through garnishment.

Unless there are any statutory exemptions, the losing party will have to pay the amount owed. After the procedure is complete and the losing party has satisfied all requirements, one must file a “Satisfaction of Judgement” with the circuit court.

Court Fees

The court costs for small claim cases consist of filing fees and service fees. The filing fee for every case is priced at 27.50 USD. Service forever certified mail per defendant is 10 USD, and personal service for each defendant is 36 USD.

Additional fees to be paid include:

  • Garnishment fee, which is a combination of 10 USD and service fee
  • trial de novo fees, 82 USD, and bond pricing if applicable to your claim.

For any doubts, discrepancies, or questions regarding the fees or the small claims, one can contact the small claims clerk at the courthouse in Kansas City at (816) 881-3983 or Independence at (816) 881-4493.

Being a Defendant

If one’s being sued, he/ she needs to strictly adhere to all court procedures, including showing up on time on the hearing date. If they accept the claim, they can settle with a written agreement filed with the help of a court clerk. If they think the claim is falsified, they’ll have to prepare evidence supporting their side of the story and present it in court.

A counterclaim can be filed against the plaintiff suing a person simultaneously. This doesn’t require any filing fees, but the cost for mailing must be paid. This needs to be done within 10 days of getting a notice for some cases. It’s recommended to take legal advice from a clerk in case someone is considering a counterclaim.

For any more information about the Circuit Court, one can refer to the Missouri small claims court handbook. They can also look up information regarding their case with the small claims clerk on the website.

Frequently Asked Questions about MO Small Claims

Is it worth it to take someone to small claims court?

The small claims circuit costs can call in the defendant via mail and help you collect fees from the debtor. So, the simple procedure is worth the effort.

What is the lowest amount for small claims court?

There’s no minimum amount for filing a small claims case in Missouri. But, since the filing fee is about 27.50 USD, it is advised not to go there for close amounts.

Is it worth filing a small claims case?

For hard settlements, small claims cases can be quite handy. Even for cases a little over the limit, the procedure is advisable even though one might not get the full settlement amount because this helps them avoid the cost of hiring an attorney and going through jury trials.

What qualifies as a small claim?

Any civil dispute- contract breach, injury, debt, etc.- of value less than 5000 USD qualifies as a small claim in Missouri and can be carried out in circuit courts.

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