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Frequently Asked Questions

Small Claims

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How do you start / file a claim?

First, you must complete a Small Claims Information Sheet, providing all necessary information, and file it with the Wayne County Municipal Court Small Claims Department. Next, when filing the information sheet, you will be asked to sign a Small Claims Complaint and Summons (Complaint) form, that will be completed by the Small Claims staff. Upon paying the filing fee, your complaint will be processed. 

How much does it cost to file a claim?

The cost is $85.00 to file a complaint against one defendant and $15.00 for each additional defendant listed in the same complaint.  For a list of all Small Claims Costs, click on the Small Claims Fees link .

Do you need an attorney?

No, you do not need nor are you required to hire an attorney for Small Claims Court. However, it is important to keep in mind that everyone has the right to hire an attorney.   

What happens after I file a complaint?

After filing a claim, a Mediation Hearing will be scheduled and all parties will be notified.  If a resolution cannot be agreed upon at mediation, the matter will be scheduled for trial. Either directly after the trial or a short time later, the Judge/Magistrate will render their decision.  

What happens if the defendant or plaintiff fails to appear (FTA)?

If the plaintiff fails to appear at the Mediation Hearing and/or Trial, the claim will be dismissed. 

If the defendant fails to appear at the Mediation Hearing and/or Trial, the plaintiff will receive a default judgment.  

What happens if the defendant does not pay after I am awarded judgment?

Remember, the court is not a debt collection agency but can assist in attempting you obtain payment. The court offers three options to assist by manner of a Judgment Debtor Exam, Wage Garnishment, or Bank Attachment. All three options come with a cost that the defendant is ultimately responsible for.  

If awarded judgment, how long does the judgment last?

The judgment will last until it has been paid in full or goes dormant. A judgment will go dormant five years after the last activity on the case. If this happens, the plaintiff will have to file a Motion to Revive Judgment which costs $65.00.  

Will I get reimbursed for the legal action I may have to take if the defendant does not pay?

Once awarded judgment, any court costs that are incurred will become the responsibility of the defendant to pay.