Small claims are disputes involving money damages where the amount at issue does not exceed $5,000.00 excluding costs, interest and attorneys' fees. See Florida Statutes, Chapter 34, for a description of which causes of action are under the jurisdiction of County Court.
In Small Claims Court, you can represent yourself if you wish, or you may seek the assistance of counsel if you choose. While you have the right to file and to represent yourself, your attorney may assist you in the legal process.
It is important to include your name, address and telephone number on every document you file with the court.
You must pay filing fees when you initiate your claim. Fees are payable in cash, cashier's check, business check, money order or attorney's check to Sharon Bock, Clerk & Comptroller.
You must also pay a fee for the Service of Process (summons) by the Sheriff of Palm Beach County, per defendant, and you must provide a self-addressed stamped envelope for each defendant. Payment for service of the summons by the sheriff must be separate from the filing fee payment and must be paid by check, cashier's check or money order, payable to the Palm Beach County Sheriff. If service is to be made outside Palm Beach County, you are responsible for forwarding summons and payment to the sheriff or private process server in the other county. Please contact them to find out the amount of the service fee and accepted methods of payment
If filing your small claims case by mail, please include an additional self-addressed stamped envelope so any document copies and notice of pre-trial hearing date can be returned to you.
When considering whether or not you should file a lawsuit, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I tried all possible and/or reasonable means to reach a settlement?
- Do I have, or am I able to obtain, the necessary evidence to prove my claim?
- Do I know the correct legal name and address of the defendant?
Suing an Individual
You need the exact name and address of the person or persons to be sued.
Suing a Corporation
You will need the exact name of the corporation as on file with the Division of Corporation in Tallahassee, together with the Name of the Registered Agent and the address where the Registered Agent may be served. Call 1-850-488-9000, or visit the Division of Corporate Information's online information center.
Suing a Partnership or an Entity Operating With a Fictitious Name
You need the name and address of the person or entity doing business as a fictitious name (d/b/a). If a partnership, you need the name and address of all partners. Many individuals, partnerships and corporations do business under fictitious names.
You cannot sue a fictitious name as it is not an entity or a person. It is your responsibility to determine whether individuals, partners or corporations are doing business under a fictitious name. This information may be obtained from the Division of Corporate Information, which will tell you who has registered to do business under specific fictitious names.
Documents Pertaining to Your Suit
If you have contracts, invoices, bills, receipts, letters, etc., which are relevant to your suit, bring one copy for the court file and one copy for each defendant. Bring the original documents to the hearing.
You may file your claim:
- In person at any County Civil Court location
- By mail.
- Electronically, using the State of Florida E-filing Portal at www.myflcourtaccess.com.
When you file your case, you will be given a pre-trial hearing date. Your attendance at this pre-trial hearing date is mandatory. For further assistance, call County Civil Court at 561.355.2500.
Do-It-Yourself In Court: How to Collect a Judgment resources toolbox.