SMALL CLAIMS


A Small Claims case is a legal action filed in county court to settle minor legal disputes among parties where the dollar amount involved is less than $5,000, excluding costs, interest, and attorney fees. Small Claims court is considered a "people's court," so it is not necessary to have an attorney to file a claim, but attorneys are not precluded from this court. Forms to file a small claim case are available at the County Civil Department at the Clerk's Office or on our website here.
If the form is signed outside of our office, it needs to be notarized. It can also be signed in the presence of a Deputy Clerk here at the Clerk's Office. This form will tell the other party why you are suing and the amount of the claim.
The case is filed in the county in which the incident took place. If the case is filed in the wrong county, the defendant may ask the court to change the venue to the proper county.
Filing
When filing a Small Claims case, you need to be certain that you are suing the proper party. If you are suing a business, you should contact the Secretary of State Website at www.sunbiz.org to retrieve the information needed to have your summons served on the Registered Agent of the corporation. If you have any attachments to prove your claim, you must provide the Court with one copy for the file and one copy to be served on each defendant.
Fees
Filing fees for Small Claims actions are determined by Florida Statutes and are subject to legislative action each year. Fees also may vary in accordance with the dollar amount of your claim and the type of action.
Other fees are required for service on the parties you are suing and are dependent on the type of service you select. For a list of fees click this link.
Service of Process
You can have your summons served by the sheriff, or by certified mail. Certified mail can only be served within the State of Florida. You cannot have a court hearing until the person or business you are suing is served. You must know the correct name of the person, business, or corporation you are suing as well as their address and phone number, if possible. If the defendant is not served, you may attempt to service again when you have located a new address.

  • Certified Mail - Actual postal cost per defendant who must reside in Florida.
  • sheriff’s Service - $40.00 per defendant for Florida residents. Out of state sheriff’s departments may charge a different fee. You will need to contact the out of county/state sheriff’s office for service fees and instructions.
County Court Mediation Program
At the time you file your Small Claims case you will be given a date and time for County Court Mediation. This date and time will also be placed on the Summons or Notice to Appear that will be served on the person or business you are suing. This program provides both parties with an opportunity to resolve their dispute without returning to court for a trial. You should be prepared to present your case in court, if you and the defendant cannot settle the case in mediation.

Trial
You must appear at the trial with all witnesses and documentation of your claim.
If a witness will not appear and testify voluntarily, you may request the Clerk’s office to prepare and issue a subpoena. There is a $7.00 service charge for issuance, and the sheriff charges a service fee of $40.00.
At the trial you will have an opportunity to explain your case to the Judge, ask the person(s) you are suing any questions concerning your claim, and present your documentation.
Collecting your Judgment
The court does not collect money damages for you. You may wish to consult with an attorney for advice on how to collect your judgment. An alternative to hiring an attorney is to file your judgment with the Secretary of State. You can download information form www.sunbiz.org or call 1-800-656-7463.
You can also place a judgment lien against any individually owned real property of the defendant following the award of the judgment in your favor. You should obtain a certified copy of your judgment and have it recorded in the Official Records at the clerk of courts Official Records Department. Fees for recording are set by statute and are subject to change by legislative action. The fees can be found on our website here.
Settlement
If you and the other party reach a settlement, the Clerk's office must be notified in writing.
Satisfaction of Judgment
When the judgment is paid in full; you are required to furnish the defendant a Satisfaction of Judgment. A copy of the Satisfaction of Judgment should be furnished to the Clerk’s Office Civil Division. The satisfaction must be signed in the presence of a notary. The defendant should then have the original Satisfaction of Judgment recorded in the Recording Department of the Clerk’s Office to remove any liens placed against him/her.

Other fees are required for service on the parties you are suing and are dependent on the type of service you select.For a list of fees click this link.
For more information concerning Small Claims Cases you may contact our Civil Department at (904) 548-4606.

CONTACT INFORMATION

(904)548-4606

 

ROBERT M. FOSTER JUSTICE CENTER


76347 Veterans Way
Yulee, Florida 32097

HISTORIC COURTHOUSE


416 Centre Street
Fernandina Beach, Florida 32034

HOURS OF OPERATION


8:30-5:00, Monday - Friday
( Excluding Holidays )

Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want e-mail address released in response to a public-records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing.