Small Claims

INITIATE A SMALL CLAIM ACTION:

  • 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.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

For more complete information regarding small claims please visit the "Introduction to Small Claims Court"