The amount of money you seek to recover may not exceed $10,000 in cases brought by a natural person (a natural person is defined as a human being). The limit for all other cases brought by a business, corporation, or other business entity, remains at $5,000.
You must prepare a small claims form available from this site or in the District Court office.
The form must be filed in the District Court office and a $35 filing fee must be paid. You can file the claim by mail by providing a signed small claim form, check or money order for $35 and a self-addressed stamped envelope to return copies back.
Once the claim has been filed, the plaintiff must have the claim served on the defendant at least 10 days prior to the hearing date. Service may be done by: Sheriff's office, a process server, a person of legal age not connected with the case, or by certified mail, restricted delivery with a return receipt requested.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN SERVED WITH A SMALL CLAIMS ACTION:
Review instructions on back of claim form
You can make an out-of-court settlement with the plaintiff before the hearing date. The plaintiff must then notify the Court in writing that the case has been dismissed.
If you have a claim against the plaintiff, you may file a counterclaim. You must file the counterclaim with a $35 filing fee
Counterclaim must be filed per service rules.
IF THE JUDGMENT IS NOT PAID:
To request that a transcript of an unpaid small claims judgment be entered into the civil docket of the Cowlitz County District Court please send the attached form with the $20.00 transcript fee.