Kansas District Court Small Claims Actions: An Overview

Learn about filing a small claims case in Kansas District Court.

By , Attorney

What's the small claims court dollar limit in Kansas Small Claims Court?

You can ask for up to $4,000 in a small claims action filed in Kansas District Court—the court that handles small claims matters in Kansas.

Can a landlord bring an eviction lawsuit in the small claims division of Kansas District Court?

No. Evictions aren't heard as small claims in Kansas District Court. However, the small claims division is an excellent forum for other types of cases typically brought in small claims courts, such as property damage matters and breach of contract disputes.

Where should I file my small claims case in Kansas?

Kansas has many courthouses. You must choose the proper court location or "venue," otherwise, the defendant—the person or company you sue—will be able to ask the court to transfer or dismiss your action. In Kansas, you can file in the district court that serves the area where:

  • the defendant lives
  • the plaintiff resides if the defendant is served there
  • the defendant's place of business or employment, or
  • the cause of action (incident) arose.

Go to the Kansas Secretary of State business entity search webpage for company information. Also, be aware that you might have other options, depending on your case. Most courts post venue rules on the court website.

What's the deadline to file a case in small claims court in Kansas?

You don't have an unlimited amount of time to file a claim. You'll have to bring it within the statute of limitations period for your particular case. For example, the Kansas statute of limitations is three years for oral contracts, five years for written contracts, and two years for personal injury and property damage cases. If you don't file within the proper period, you lose your right to sue.

Also, the statute of limitations can stop and restart depending on various circumstances, and figuring out when it expires can be challenging. For instance, if a minor is injured, the personal injury statute won't begin running until the child reaches 18 years of age. Learn more about calculating the statute of limitations.

Can an attorney represent a small claims claimant in Kansas District Court?

No. However, there's one exception: If the other side is a lawyer, you can hire an attorney to represent you.

Does the defendant have to answer the small claims complaint?

No. The defendant doesn't have to file an answer to avoid an automatic loss and default judgment. Instead, the defendant can show up for the court date and defend the action on that day.

Learn what happens if you get sued in small claims court.

Will I have a judge or jury trial in small claims court in Kansas?

A judge will hear your case. Kansas doesn't allow jury trials in small claims cases.

Find out what to expect at the small claims trial.

Can I appeal a Kansas small claims case?

Yes. Either side can appeal the decision. You'll have to file the appeal within 14 days of entry of judgment. (The entry of judgment occurs when the court enters the judgment into the court records—not when the judge announces or writes the decision.) You must comply with this and other rules, or you'll lose your appeal rights. So if you're confused about the process or how to find the proper date to start counting from, talk with the court clerk or a local attorney.

Will the court collect my judgment for me?

No. You'll be responsible for all collection efforts. It's a good idea to determine whether you can collect before deciding whether to sue.

Where can I learn more about small claims court in Kansas District Court?

Most courts include filing instructions on the court website or provide self-help services. For additional resources, try the Kansas Judicial Branch's small claims court webpage. You can also view Kansas statutory law online on the Kansas Legislature's statute webpage to view the statutory codes (Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 61-2701 to 61-2714; 61-3003; 61-3402 to 3409).

For detailed help with case filing, court strategy, and collecting a money judgment, see Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court by Attorney Cara O'Neill (Nolo).

Look out for Legal Changes. This overview doesn't provide all of the information needed to file a small claims case. Also, keep in mind that statutes can change, and checking them is always a good idea. How the courts interpret and apply the law can also change. These are just some of the reasons to consult an attorney if you have any questions about litigating your case or if you aren't comfortable independently verifying the law.