How to Prepare for Small Claims Court
It is not often that you hire an attorney to represent you in a small claims court. Attorney expenses are not recoverable in court. However, an attorney may help prepare you for the court. Here are a few useful points.
Preparation - PlaintiffIn order to initiate the proceedings in a small claims court, you need to fill out the SC-100 form. Court clerks are very helpful, so ask where the court clerk is and see them in person if you don't understand something. In this form, you must state the cause and damages succinctly but with sufficient factual background to make the judge aware of ramifications. It is advisable to attach a written description in the form of a brief (a two page letter describing what happened and why you are suing shall suffice).
Preparation - DefendantWhen you have received a summons with trial date, you are being sued. You need to respond as soon as possible in order to preserve your rights. Use form SC120. It is always a good idea to negotiate, as you fill out the box regarding this issue either YES or NO: Have you negotiated? The court looks at the good will of the parties and attempt at an out-of-court settlement will accrue to the benefit of the party that initiated this conciliatory measure.