Who Can File a Claim in Small Claims Court

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Generally, any adult, business or government agency (except the federal government) can sue or be sued in small claims court – as long as the dispute is about money:

  • $10,000 or less, if the case is filed Opens new window by individuals or sole proprietorships;
  • $5,000 or less if the case is filed by a businesses (other than sole proprietorships) or by government agencies. 

 A small claims case can be filed by:

  • An individual
  • A married couple
  • Individually owned businesses (sole proprietorships) 
  • Partnerships
  • Corporations
  • Limited liability companies
  • Unincorporated associations
  • Government agencies (also called “public entities”)
  • And others

To file or defend a case by themselves in small claims court, the person must be:

(a) at least 18 years old or legally emancipated, Opens new window and
(b) mentally competent.

If a person is under 18 years old, or has been declared mentally incompetent by a court, he or she must be represented by a guardian ad litem.Opens new window  For someone not yet 18, the representative is usually one of his or her parents. Contact the small claims adviser for your court to find out how to have a guardian ad litem appointed.

Among those not allowed to sue in small claims court are collection agencies. They must use the limited jurisdiction courts, if the amount of the claim is $25,000 or less, or the unlimited jurisdiction courts if the amount of the claim is more than $25,000.

: When you file a court case, you have to know the exact legal name and address of the person or business you want to sue.

  • For suggestions on how to find a person, click here.
  • For suggestions on how to find a business, click here

NOTE 2: There are limits to how many small claims cases can be filed by a person or business in one year. To learn more, click here.



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