How to File a Small Claims Case in Colorado
How to initiate a small claims caseIf you decide to go to court, the procedures for small claims are simple and have to be followed.
You will first need to file a form called a "Notice, Claim and Summons to Appear for Trial" (the complaint). You can get this form from the courthouse, or visit the Judicial Branch website at www.courts.state.co.us (click on "Forms & Self-Help" to download the form). Make sure you fill in the correct information in the caption box, you are the plaintiff and the person you are suing is the defendant. If you are suing a corporation, then the defendant will be the name of the corporation. If you are suing a corporation and an employee, then you will have to name that employee along with the corporation, i.e. Corporation XYZ and Joe Smith. The third section requires you to name the "registered agent" if you are suing a corporation. If a corporation wants
to do business in Colorado, it must have a registered agent to receive legal papers.
Where to file the caseTo determine if the small claims court has the authority to hear your case, the defendant must live in, work in, or go to school at a college or other institution of higher education in that county. If the defendant does not meet these requirements, then you need to go to the small claims court in the county where he or she lives, works, or goes to school.
Service of the defendantThe Small Claims Rules set out the procedure for serving the complaint on the defendant. (Rule 504 establishes the procedure for service; the Small Claims Rules are found in Volume 12 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.) Generally, a person who is not involved in the case or not a family member of someone involved in the case, such as a sheriff or a private process server, needs to deliver the complaint to the defendant or the registered agent. The plaintiff has to pay a fee to have the defendant served. The form can be mailed by certified mail by the clerk of the court. The plaintiff will have to pay the cost for certified mail at the time the complaint is filed. At least 15 days before the trial date, the defendant must be served with the complaint. If not, the trial date will probably have to be rescheduled. The plaintiff will get back a form that shows service was completed, including the date of service. This form must be filed with the court at or before the trial date.