Small Claims Cases
Civil/Small Claim Information
The following is general information concerning civil/small claims matters. The Court has jurisdiction to hear matter concerning claims involving $10,000 or less. While the court clerks may be able to answer general questions, neither the Court nor the clerks may give you legal advice. You are advised to consult with an attorney for advice about your case. The Court has forms which you can download to assist with your Civil/Small Claims matter. You may also obtain copies of the forms from the Court during regular business hours. The filing fee depending on the amount of the claim is as follows:
$0-2000 = $60
$2,000-7,500 = $100
$7,500-10,000 = $185
General Information for Plaintiffs
If you believe that someone owes you $10,000 or less, you (the "plaintiff") can bring a lawsuit before the Court to get the money owed to you. To start an action, you can come to the Court during regular business hours and pick up the necessary forms to file the lawsuit. If you cannot come to Court, you can call (801) 273-9731during regular business hours and we will mail the forms to you.
You can also download the forms off the Utah State Court's Web Site, as follows: http://www.utcourts.gov/resources/forms/
When using the downloaded forms, be sure to follow all of the additional instructions.
You will need to know the name and address of the person you believe owes you money (the "defendant"). You will need to file the forms with the Court and have the Notice and Order issued. You will then need to have the Notice and Order served on the defendant. The Sheriff or a Constable for Salt Lake County can serve the Notice and Order. Other people authorized by law to serve process may also serve the Notice and Order.
In order for you to file in our Court, either the defendant must reside in the City of Holladay or the debt must have arisen in the City of Holladay.
It is vital that you appear in Court as ordered. Failure to do so may result in dismissal of your lawsuit.
General Information for Defendants
If you receive a Notice and Affidavit, you are being sued by someone who claims that you owe them money. The Notice is simply a document to tell you where and when to show up to defend yourself against the claim. The Affidavit will tell you why the plaintiff (the person suing you) thinks you owe them money. The claim may be for $10,000 or less plus costs.
If you think that the plaintiff owes you money because of the same incident for which you are being sued, you can file a Counter-Affidavit to initiate your claim against the plaintiff. A form is available from the Court or off the Court's web site at the forms page. Fill out the form completely and be sure to follow all of the instructions.
It is vital that you appear in Court as ordered. Failure to do so may result in judgement being entered against you.
Plan to arrive at the court at least fifteen (15) minutes before the scheduled time of your trial.
At trial, the Court will hear the evidence presented by both sides, then decide which side is entitled to judgment. Since the plaintiff has the burden of proof to prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence, they have the first opportunity to speak to the court. This is called an opening statement. After the plaintiff has made its opening statement, the defense has the option to make their opening statement or wait until the beginning of their turn to present evidence & witnesses.
The opening statement is an opportunity to briefly describe the types of evidence and what you hope the evidence will mean to the Court or the jury. Neither side is required to make an opening statement and the parties often proceed directly to the introduction of evidence.
After the opening statements, the plaintiff presents its "case-in-chief." The plaintiff will offer evidence to prove that they are right. After the plaintiff is done, the defendant will have the opportunity to present their side of the story. Either side may present testimony by witnesses or submit documents, subject to the simplified rules procedure and evidence promulgated by the Utah Supreme Court.
After the defendant finishes presenting their side of the story, then both sides will have the opportunity to rebut the other side. This is done by presenting additional testimony or evidence. Again, the plaintiff goes first, then the defendant will have a chance to speak. After each side is done, closing arguments are made.
During closing arguments, each side will have the opportunity to tell the Court why they are right. The plaintiff gets to speak first, then the defendant will get to argue their case, followed by a final argument by the plaintiff. The case is then submitted to the Court for a determination as to liability.
Either party may appeal a small claims judgement by filing a notice of appeal within 30 days of entry of judgement. A new trial will then take place in the District Court. Filing fee for an appeal is $235. Third District court requires that the parties mediate before a new trial is granted.