If you intend to bring a complaint against your former tenants for over $10,000 in damages the case will need to be brought in the County Court for the county in which the Defendant now resides. You may bring the case yourself, but I recommend giving serious consideration to hiring an attorney, you have over $10,000 on the line, you may be able to obtain the cost of your representation as a portion of the judgment amount.
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You would sue in County Court, which has jurisdiction up to $15,000 now. I am a former County Court Judge and refer all landlord/tenant cases to Mr. Eby.
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I agree with the above answers but would like to add that while you can file and pursue the suit without an attorney in regular court, you also will be held to the same performance standards as an attorney. That includes compliance with all the court's rules and procedures - proper pleading format, compliance with time deadlines, motion filing and response, etc. There is a reason attorneys spend years in law school so you will be at an extreme disadvantage if your opponent has an attorney and you do not. Good luck.
Nothing contained herein should be considered as legal advice for any specific situation and nothing herein is intended to create a lawyer-client relationship. Every case is very "fact-specific" and persons wishing legal advice on a specific matter should contact me or another attorney for an appointment to review their particular circumstances and to create a lawyer-client relationship. Gregory L. Abbott, Attorney at Law, 6635 North Baltimore, Suite 254, Portland, Oregon 97203. Tel: 503-283-4568; Fax: 503-283-4586; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Specializing in Consumer and Small Business Law.
I would go to County Court. The limit there is $15K, plus attorneys' fees and interest. Check your lease to see if you're entitled to those. Must you have a lawyer? No. Should you? Well, for that amount of money, I think counsel would be appropriate. You're also going to want to have your attorney run an asset search on the tenant to make sure the lawsuit is worth it. If you cannot collect the judgment, its probably not worth your time so doing that search up-front is important. Otherwise, if you sue in Denver County Court, you will probably be ordered to mediation.