You can file your case in the Small Claims Court if:
Your claim seeks money damages of no more than $6,000 and you meet one of the following two criteria:
- The transaction or incident on which your claim is based took place in the Court’s jurisdiction (Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village or Richmond Heights); or
- The defendant (the person or organization sued) lives or has its principal place of business in the Court’s jurisdiction.
Individuals and businesses – such as corporations and limited liability companies - can sue and be sued in Small Claims Court.
The procedures in the Small Claims Court are simpler than in other court cases. Hearings are less formal; there is no jury; cases are decided by a magistrate.
Individuals: No. The simpler procedures in the Small Claims Court makes it easier for individuals to handle their cases without attorneys. However, any party is permitted to be represented by counsel.
Corporations and LLCs: Corporations and limited liability companies can sue and be sued. Corporations and limited liability companies must be represented by a lawyer. Someone who is not a lawyer, such as an officer or employee, may not engage in advocacy, such as questioning or cross-examining witnesses or presenting arguments. Non-lawyers can only provide testimony to facts that they personally know and they can provide documents to support their case. Individuals appearing on behalf of a company or corporation should consult with a lawyer before trial.
To find a lawyer, call the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association at 216-696-3532 or visit their website.
Yes. Parties often discuss their differences with one another and attempt to resolve their dispute before they come to court. The magistrate may also discuss settlement with the parties.
If you reach an agreement to settle the case, the plaintiff must submit a statement to the Clerk of Court that gives notice of the settlement. If the settlement notice is sent to the Clerk of Court before the next hearing date, you will not need to appear in Court.
The case number must be included on the statement. The statement may be submitted in person, by U.S. Mail, or by fax to (440) 442-2635.