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Small Claims

INITIATE A SMALL CLAIM ACTION:

  • A small claims action may be brought for the recovery of money only.  The maximum amount is $5,000.  In general, the claim must be filed in the county of the defendant’s residence. 
  • 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 $14 filing fee must be paid.  You can file the claim by mail by providing a signed small claim form, check or money order for $14 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 $14 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”



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