How to Begin a Small Claims Case
If you cannot resolve your dispute through settlement negotiations or mediation, you can file a claim against the person or business in the small claims division of District Court. To start the case, an "affidavit and claim form" must be filed with the clerk of the District Court. Details about how to complete the form, and who can complete it, are included with the Affidavit and Claim, Small Claims (form DC 84). You may request the claim form from a District Court clerk at the courthouse or you can complete the form online, print it, and bring it to the court.
Affidavit and Claim Form
Small claims cases should be filed either where the cause of action arose (where the transaction or dispute took place) or where the person or business you are suing is located (where the defendant resides). If you are suing more than one person or business the suit cannot be filed where the claim arose, but must be filed in the District Court where any of the persons live or where any of the businesses operate.
There is a fee for filing a small claims case (please see cost schedule below). The plaintiff is responsible for paying the filing fee and other required fees or costs (postage costs or fees for serving the claim on the defendant). The amount of the fees can be included as part of the judgment against the defendant (the person you are suing) if the Magistrate or Judge decides in your favor.
The defendant may offer to settle out of court after learning you have filed a suit. If you settle the matter out of court, you can either voluntarily dismiss your lawsuit or obtain a judgment.
Small Claims Filing Fees
|1 - $600 ---- $30.00
|601 - $1,750 ---- $50.00
|1,751 – $6,000 ---- $70.00