Jerome C. Williams, Jr., Attorney at Law
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Tips to succeed in your case:
Do what it takes to make a positive impression on the court. This means getting to court on time and also, dressing in a professional manner. When people underdress, or, when they fail to appear at the courtroom on time, it leaves them vulnerable to not being taken as seriously by the court. This could end up costing you your case. Hence, be on time and dress for success, no matter what. Please feel free to contact us to schedule your free consultation.
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Clearwater/St. Petersburg Small Claims Attorney
What is a small claims action?
It’s when there is a dispute between two parties, and the issue in controversy does not exceed $5,000. You should review Chapter 34 of the Florida Statutes for a description of which causes of action are covered under small claims in the county court. Also review the small claims rules of procedure located in section 7 of the Florida Rules of Court for more detailed information. The statutes and rules of procedure which apply will depend upon the type of case filed. It is strongly recommended that you familiarize yourself with the laws that apply to your particular case by visiting your local law library.
The first step in filing a small claims action is obtaining and filling out the necessary forms usually consisting of a statement of claim and a notice or service of process which requires the parties to appear at a specified pre-trial conference. Small claims forms are available at your local Clerk of Court's Office.
What happens after filing
Once the statement of claim has been completed and filed with the clerk of court, the plaintiff must provide the defendant with the copies of the statement of claim and the service of process form. In a small claims case, there are two general ways to provide the defendant with these forms.
If the defendant lives in Florida, the statement of claim and services of process form can be sent by certified mail through the United States Postal Service. If the defendant refuses to accept the service of process through certified mail, or does not live in the Florida, or is a corporation within Florida, the statement of claim and service of process must be delivered to the defendant by the sheriff of the county where the defendant lives or is located. A private process server who is authorized to serve legal papers may also serve the defendant.
Once the defendant has been served, the process may continue. If service of process is done incorrectly or not done at all, the case may not proceed. Once the defendant has been served with the statement of claim and the service of process form, both parties must attend a pre-trial conference.