If You Are Sued in Small Claims Court

If you are the defendant in a small claims case, here are some of the issues you'll want to be aware of--from making sure you are properly served to fighting back with your own claim.  

If You Are Not Properly Served

You may conclude that you were not properly served with the plaintiff's court papers. Perhaps the plaintiff's claim was left with your neighbors, or maybe you weren't given the correct number of days in which to respond. Because there are one or more procedural defects in the plaintiff's case, you may be tempted to not show up in court. This would be a mistake. The judge may be unaware of or overlook the problem and issue a default judgment against you. If this happens, you will have to go to the trouble of requesting that the default be judgment vacated.

When the plaintiff fails to have court papers properly served on you or makes some other procedural error, your best course of action is to contact the court in writing, explain the problem, and ask that the case be dismissed. If the court can't or won't help, show up on the day in question and make your request in person. If the problem involves a failure to serve papers on you properly, chances are the plaintiff will reâ

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