Fargo Patent & Business Law and Small Claims Court
A business in Fargo from time to time may have a minor legal dispute or small collection issue come up. In North Dakota small claims courts hear disputes up to $15,000. Small claims court is very laid back and you do not need an attorney to represent you, but you can if you would prefer. Oftentimes, the judgment is handed down on the day of the court hearing and it can be closed out rather quickly.
What is a Claim Affidavit?
When a business has a dispute and the value is less than $15,000, all you basically need to do to file a lawsuit is fill out a Claim Affidavit and have it served and filed. A Claim Affidavit is as simple as filling out a one-page report regarding the dispute. If there is more to the dispute than a few sentences, you can add pages. Alternatively, a formal complaint format can also be used. Once the Claim Affidavit is filed and served, the defendant can choose to pay the disputed amount, file an answer disputing your claim, and/or file a counterclaim. The defendant can also remove the claim to district court. Like the plaintiff, the defendant also is limited to being able to claim only $15,000.
How Small Claims Court Works
Filing in small claims court is a process that is relatively straightforward and the case moves rather quickly. So after you file your Claim Affidavit or your answer, you can file various exhibits to prove your case. The court provides notice as to the date and time when your dispute will be heard. During the 2020 COVID year, many of the small claims courts across the state are holding virtual hearings. When you get to the hearing, it typically starts with the judge or referee asking if everyone is present. Then the judge might ask a few questions or recite their understanding of the dispute. The judge may ask questions of the parties or may ask the parties to give an explanation of their understanding of the dispute. Once the judge has enough understanding of the situation, they will issue an order.
Once the court has issued its order, the next step is collection. Ideally the defendant would immediately write a check to cover the amount ordered. If the person owing on the judgment doesn’t pay, there are options the winner can take to collect. With a judgment you can garnish wages, obtain a writ of execution, or a lien against property.
We at Fargo Patent and Business Law have experience running businesses and understand business. This unique trait can help bridge the gap between the needs of business and the needs of the legal system. If you have a question, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Fargo Patent & Business Law, PLLC – email@example.com – 701-566-7571