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Which Court Should I Use: Small Claims or Limited Civil?

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There are valid reasons for choosing either Small Claims or Limited Civil court.
Each court is a trial court. 

Small Claims

  1. In Small Claims court, individuals and sole proprietorships can sue for $10,000 or less. Businesses (other than sole proprietorships) and government agencies can sue for $5,000 or less.
  2. Nobody may bring an attorney (unless there is an appeal). 
  3. The court costs are less than Limited Civil court. 
  4. Small Claims court is faster. 
  5. There is no discoveryOpens new window and rules of evidence do not apply. 
  6. A judicial officer (a Judge, Commissioner or Temporary Judge) tries the case; there is no jury. 
  7. An appeal is a new trial before a new judge. Therefore, all evidence is presented again. 


Limited Civil

  1. In Limited Civil court, you may sue for up to $25,000.00. 
  2. You may have an attorney represent you. 
  3. There is limited discovery allowed. (Discovery is a way to get information that will lead to evidence or evidence itself that you may use in court.) 
  4. The trial is either by the judge or a jury. 
  5. Appeals are not new trials; therefore, no evidence is offered. Only arguments are presented as to how the trial court applied the wrong law to the case, or misinterpreted one it applied. Appellate judges hear the case on appeal.

 



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