If you cannot resolve a dispute or claim with another party in Massachusetts, one of your options is to file a claim in Small Claims Court. If the amount you are suing for is less than $7,000, small claims court may be a good forum. Below is some general information on filing a lawsuit in small claims court in MA.
Overview of Small Claims Court
Small Claims Court in MA allows you to present your case to a clerk and resolve it in an information manner. It is important to know that when you file a claim, you forgo your right to fiel the same claim in another court. You also waive your right to a jury trial. Lastly, it’s unlikely that you will be able to appeal the court clerk’s decision in small claims court if you are unhappy with the results. The clerk’s job is to listen to and ensure fairness to both parties.
Filing a Lawsuit in Small Claims Court in MA
The first step in the process is to select the appropriate Court to file your claim – you can use this as a reference: http://www.mass.gov/courts/selfhelp/small-claims/. Once you have determined the correct location, you will need to obtain the form entitled the “Statement of Claim and Notice”. This can be done in person or via mail.
When filling out any legal forms, be sure to use the proper legal name of the individual, business, or corporation that you are filing the claim against. When you complete the form, you will also need to indicate the amount for which you are suing. You may include the original damages and any additional fees incurred from the dispute. Make sure that the amount is reasonable and that you have some sort of documentation or other evidence to support this amount.
You will need to pay a filing fee, but you may be able to reclaim this from the defendant if you win the case. After submitting the paperwork, you will receive a Statement of Claim and Notice with a Docket Number and the date and time of your trial.
Filing Fees in MA for Small Claims Court
For claims of:
- $500 or less: $40
- $501 – $2,000: $50
- $2,001 – $5,000: $100
- $5,0001 – $7,000: $150
Attorney Representation For MA Small Claims
An attorney is not required when filing a lawsuit in small claims court in MA. However, depending on the amount of your damages, you may want to consider consulting with one to determine your best course of action. For cases with damages exceeding $7,000, it may be best to take your dispute to another court. Since every case is different, there’s really no simple answer as to which course of action is best. Your attorney can provide valuable guidance when it comes to these matters.