State Provisions

ALABAMA: In Alabama, the Small Claims Division of the District Court hears claims limited to $3,000 or less.

ALASKA: In Alaska, the District Court Civil Division processes small claims that do not exceed $7,500. Each county has a District Court.

ARKANSAS: In Arkansas, the Claims Court is a special civil division of the Municipal Court. Claims are limited to $5,000 or less.

ARIZONA: In Arizona, every Justice of the Peace Court has a small claims division. Disputes must not exceed $2,500. All cases are heard by judges or hearing officers. No attorneys are allowed to represent clients in these cases. Justice Courts share jurisdiction with the Superior Court in cases of landlord/tenant disputes where damages are between $5,000 and $10,000. They can hear matters regarding possession of, but not title to, real property.

CALIFORNIA: In California, individuals can file as many claims as they wish for up to $2,500 in the Small Claims Court. However, individuals may only file two (2) claims in any calendar year for up to $5,000. However, they cannot sue a guarantor for more than $4,000. A guarantor is one who promises to be responsible for the debt or default of another.

COLORADO: In Colorado, the County Court Civil Division processes small claims that do not exceed $5,000. Each county has a District Court. No plaintiff may file more than two claims per month or 18 claims per year in small claims courts.

CONNECTICUT: In Connecticut, the Small Claims Court is a division of the Superior Court and has a maximum jurisdictional amount of $3500. Attorneys are permitted. There are no rights of appeal. The official court form is “JD-CV-40.” Individuals should call the Secretary of State at 860-509-6002 to find out if a defendant is a corporation and to get the address. There is a $30 filing fee.

DELAWARE: In Delaware, the Justice of the Peace Court handles both civil and criminal cases. Civil cases handled in the Justice of the Peace Court are those involving money debts, property damages, or return of personal property. The amount of damages that may be sought in the Justice of the Peace Court is limited to $15,000.

DISTRICT OF. COLUMBIA.: In Washington, D.C the District of Columbia., the Small Claims Division of the Superior Court of D.C. hears cases that are only for the recovery of money up to $5,000. The Small Claims Division of the Superior Court of D.C. hears cases that are only for the recovery of money up to $5,000.00, not including interest, attorneys fees, and court costs. If both parties to an action agree, a Superior Court judge may settle a case by arbitration, regardless of the amount of the claim. DC Code 11-1321,1322; McCray v. McGee, 504 A.2d 1128 (App D.C. 1986.)

FLORIDA: In Florida, a County Court civil division handles small claims under $5,000.

GEORGIA: In Georgia, a County Magistrate Small Claims Court handles money claims under $15,000. Individuals may file a claim in Magistrate Court with or without an attorney. They may have an attorney represent them if they choose; this would be at their own expense. The court does not appoint attorneys for civil cases.

HAWAII: In Hawaii, the Small Claims Division of the District Courts may only handle cases for the recovery of money where the amount claimed is no more than $3,500. The Small Claims Division publishes its own procedural rules.

ILLINOIS: In Illinois, the County Circuit Court processes small claims of $5,000 or less. The parties are not required to have lawyers but may choose to have one.

INDIANA: In Indiana, the Small Claims Division of the Superior Court hears claims limited to $3,000 or less ($6,000 in Marion and Allen Counties).

IOWA: In Iowa, the Small Claims Division of the Superior Court hears claims limited to $4,000 or less.

KANSAS: In Kansas, the District Court hears small claims actions. Amounts at issue are limited to $1,800. Lawyers are not allowed to represent parties in small claims proceedings prior to the entry of judgment. There is a $19.50 filing fee for claims up to $500, and a $39.50 filing fee for claims from $500 to $1,800. The hearing is conducted informally before a judge. The judgment debtor has ten days after the judgment is entered to file an appeal. The judgment debtor has 30 days to either pay the judgment or file a “Judgment Debtor’s Statement of Assets” with the court, which will forward it to parties.

KENTUCKY: In Kentucky, the Small Claims Division of the District Court hears cases involving small claims under $1,500.

LOUISIANA: In Louisiana, the City Court hears small claims actions. Some eviction cases are heard in small claims court, if the rent at issue is sufficiently small. Amounts at issue are limited to $3,000 ($2,000 for movable property).

MAINE: In Maine, the Small Claims Court is a special civil division of the District Court. Claims are limited to $4,500 or less.).

MARYLAND: Maryland does not have a specific small claims court, but the District Court has exclusive jurisdiction for claims involving less than $25,000. No formal pleadings are required for claims under $2,500. Unfortunately, the trials in these courts are much more formal than in typical small claims courts. Therefore, individuals may wish to consider obtaining the services of an attorney before going into court. MD CJ 4-401, 405.

MASSACHUSETTS: In Massachusetts, small claims are heard in every District Court, in every Housing Court, and at the Boston Municipal Court. Small claim actions are limited to disputes under $2,000.

MICHIGAN: In Michigan, individuals can sue for up to $3,000 in the Small Claims Division of the District Court. Michigan does not allow attorneys in small claims court. Decisions are final and cannot be appealed. Filing fees are $17.00 for claims up to $600, and $32.00 for claims from $600 to $3,000.

MINNESOTA: In Minnesota, the Small Claims Court is part of the District Court. Claims may not exceed $7,500.

MISSISSIPPI: In Mississippi, individuals may sue in small claims court for up to $2,500. There are no Internet resources for Mississippi small claims courts as of 2002.

MISSOURI: In Missouri, civil claims for $3,000 or less may be filed in Small Claims Court. This court has very simple rules that allow parties to resolve disputes with or without a lawyer. Rules 140 through 152 govern all civil actions pending in the small claims division of the circuit court.

MONTANA: In Montana, the Justice Court hears small claims actions of $3,000 or less.

NEBRASKA: In Nebraska, small claims court is limited to civil (non-criminal) actions involving disputes over amounts of money owed, damage to property, or seeking the return of personal property. Judgments in small claims court may not exceed $2,400.

NEVADA: In Nevada, the Small Claims Division of the County Court hears small claims actions of $5,500 or less.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: In New Hampshire, Small Claims Courts are divisions of District Courts. Small claims are regulated by RSA 503. A small claim action may not exceed $5,000. Attorneys are permitted.

NEW JERSEY: In New Jersey, small claim cases are heard in the Special Civil Part of the Civil Division of the Superior Court. These cases are for less than $2,000. The Special Civil Part also hears cases between $2,000 and $10,000.

NEW MEXICO: In New Mexico, the County Magistrate Court is authorized to hear cases that do not exceed $5,000.

NEW YORK:

New York City: In New York, the City, District, and Justice Courts in the state have Small Claims Parts that are authorized to hear cases that do not exceed $3,000.

NORTH CAROLINA: In North Carolina, the County District Court is authorized to hear cases that do not exceed $4,000.

NORTH DAKOTA: In North Dakota, the District Court is authorized to hear small claims cases that do not exceed $5,000.

OHIO: In Ohio, civil claims for $3,000 or less may be filed in Small Claims Court. This court has very simple rules that allow parties to resolve disputes without hiring an attorney. However, attorneys are permitted to represent parties if desired.

OKLAHOMA: In Oklahoma, the District Court small claims division handles cases that do not exceed $4,500.

OREGON: In Oregon, the Small Claims Department of the Justice Court processes small claim actions involving disputes under $5,000.

PENNSYLVANIA: In Pennsylvania, District Justice Courts hear claims that do not exceed $8,000. The Municipal Court of Philadelphia may hear claims of $10,000 or less. It also may hear rent only disputes in Landlord Tenant cases of an unlimited amount.

RHODE ISLAND: In Rhode Island, the small claims courts handle cases that do not exceed $1,500.

SOUTH CAROLINA: In South Carolina, the Magistrate Court processes small claim actions involving disputes under $5,000. This amount was raised to $7,500 on January 1, 2001.

SOUTH DAKOTA: In South Dakota, the small claims court is authorized to hear cases for $8,000 or less.

TENNESSEE: In Tennessee, the Court of General Sessions hears small claims actions involving disputes for $15,000 or less. In counties of 700,000 or more people, the Court hears small claims disputes for up to $25,000. However, there is no dollar limit for cases involving unlawful detainer and the recovery of personal property.

TEXAS: In Texas, a Justice Court handles small claims under $5,000.

UTAH: In Utah, the District Court processes small claim actions involving disputes under $5,000. Each county has a District Court. Small Claims rules and fees are covered under Title 78, Chapter 06 of the Utah Code.

VERMONT: In Vermont, the small claims courts handle cases that do not exceed $3,500.

VIRGINIA: In Virginia, the small claims divisions of the general district courts have concurrent jurisdiction with that of the general district courts for certain disputes of $5,000 or less. The general district courts, themselves, have exclusive original jurisdiction of certain disputes of $4,500 or less and concurrent jurisdiction with circuit courts for certain disputes exceeding $4,500 but less than $15,000. VA Code 16.1-122.2 and VA Code 16.1-77.

WASHINGTON: In Washington State, the District Court Civil Division processes small claims in amounts not exceeding $2,500. Each county has a District Court. Note that small claims are not handled in municipal court. Procedural guidelines for small claims actions are found in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Chapters 3.66, 4.28, 12.40, and applicable provisions in the Civil Rules for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction, Rule 5 (CRLJ5).

WEST VIRGINIA: In West Virginia, the Magistrates Courts handle small claims with $5,000 or less in dispute.

WISCONSIN: In Wisconsin, the District Courts handle small claims of $5,000 or less. For landlords seeking eviction, the $5,000 limit does not apply.

WYOMING: In Wyoming, the Justice of the Peace Courts hear small claims of up to $3,000. Circuit courts hear cases of up to $7,000.


Inside State Provisions