You can ask for up to $10,000 in a small claims action filed in Oklahoma District Court—the court that handles small claims matters in Oklahoma.
Yes. Evictions can be heard as small claims in Oklahoma District Court. However, the small claims division of district court is also an excellent forum for other types of cases typically brought in small claims courts, such as property damage matters and breach of contract disputes.
Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma, you can file in the county where one of the following occurs:
Go to the Oklahoma 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.
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 Oklahoma statute of limitations is two years for oral contracts, five years for written contracts, and two years to file for personal injury and property damage matters. Other limitations periods exist, depending on the type of action. 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.
Yes. Individuals can have a lawyer present the claim before the judge or jury.
No. However, a defendant must appear on the date in the court documents to avoid an automatic loss and default judgment. Also, a defendant who is owed money by the plaintiff must file a counterclaim at least 72 hours before the appearance date.
Learn what happens if you get sued in small claims court.
It depends. If the claim and counterclaim (if filed) are each less than $1,500, a judge will hear and decide your case. However, the right to a jury trial kicks in if either the claim or counterclaim is over $1,500. But it isn't automatic. The case will still be heard by a judge unless the plaintiff or defendant demands a jury at least 72 hours before the appearance date. It's likely that fees to compensate for juror costs (jury fees) will need to be deposited, as well.
Find out what to expect at the small claims trial.
Either side can appeal the decision. You'll have to file the appeal within 30 days of entry of judgment. The court clerk can tell you how to find the entry of judgment date. You must comply with this and other rules or you'll lose your appeal rights, so if you're confused about the process, talk with a local attorney.
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.
Most courts include filing instructions on the court website or provide self-help services. For additional resources, try Oklahoma County Clerk's small claims court webpage. You can also view Oklahoma law online on the Oklahoma Legislature's statute website. (Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, §§ 131 to 141; 1751 to 1773.)
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.