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A small claims case may be filed in Jefferson County if that is the defendant's residence, or in the case of a traffic accident, or an unlawfully issued check, if the accident occurred or the check was issued in Jefferson County. The State of Washington may not be sued in Small Claims Court. A Notice of Small Claim form is provided by the Court. The clerk will assist with this procedure, but the clerk is prohibited by law from giving legal advice. At the time of filing, the plaintiff must pay a filing fee of $50 in Jefferson County. The plaintiff is then given an appearance date and a copy of the claim form to be served upon the defendant. It is the responsibility of the plaintiff to accurately identify the defendant (either as an individual, a corporation, or as an individual or a corporation doing business under another name), provide a proper address (for the defendant) and, if possible, provide the defendant’s telephone number.
You may file your small claim action in the Jefferson County District Court if the corporation does business in Jefferson County, the corporate office is located in Jefferson County, or the Registered Agent is located in Jefferson County. (RCW 4.66.040(6)). When completing the Notice of Small Claim form you should list the corporation name and the office address or the name and address of the Registered Agent.
Service on a corporation is obtained by serving the Registered Agent, Corporate President, Secretary, Treasurer, Managing Agent, or the Secretary or Office Assistant of the President, Secretary, Treasurer, or Managing Agent. (RCW 23A.08.110; 23A.32.200; 4.28.080(9)).
You may file your small claim against a partnership or sole proprietorship in Jefferson County District Court, if one of the partners or sole proprietor resides in Jefferson County, or if the business is located in Jefferson County.
If agreement is reached the parties will sign an agreement which will be entered into the record. Parties will receive a copy of the agreement. No judgment will be entered. If the agreement is breached, the non-breaching party may return to the Court for judgment after filing a motion and affidavit setting forth the failure to comply with the terms of the agreement. A copy of this motion and affidavit MUST be served on the other party and proof of that service presented to the Court prior to the Court entering a judgment.
If the plaintiff fails to appear at first appearance, a dismissal will be entered. In cases where the defendant has filed a written counterclaim against the plaintiff and proof of service is presented, the defendant may be allowed judgment against the plaintiff on the counterclaim. If the defendant fails to appear and proof of service is presented, and if the plaintiff’s testimony supports the claim, the plaintiff will be granted a default judgment against the defendant up to the amount set forth in the Notice of Small Claim form and for costs of filing and service. If neither party appears the case will be dismissed without prejudice.
Be polite, not just to the judge, but also to your opponent. Do not interrupt. Whatever happens, keep your temper. Good manners and an even temper help the fair, efficient conduct of the trial and make a good impression.
Other fees may be required by the Superior Court Clerk or County Auditor. When this is done, it places a lien against all real estate in the name of the judgment debtor that is located in the county. When the judgment has been paid in full you must send written notice to the District Court that the judgment has been satisfied.