General Civil Claims
In the general civil division of the district court, anyone can bring a lawsuit against another individua or organization who they believe owes money.
The 41-A District Court handles cases where the amount of the claim is $25,000 or less. The case can be filed in the district court where the incident occurred or in the jurisdiction where the defendant lives. See the filing fee schedule below.
The 16th Circuit Court, located at 40 N. Main in Mt. Clemens, will handle the case if the amount of the claim is more than $25,000. Please contact the 16th Circuit Court at (586) 469-5150 or visit their website at http://circuitcourt.macombgov.org/CircuitCourt-Information.
For disputes involving amounts of $5,500 or less, the plaintiff can choose to file the case with the small claims division of the district court. The defendant can agree to have the case remain in small claims or request the case be removed to the regular civil division. An attorney may not represent you in the small claims division.
The person, company, or organization bringing the lawsuit. In district court, the plaintiff is seeking up to $25,000 from a party they believe owes them money.
The person, company or organization being sued. The defendant may pay the claim, respond to the complainant, retain an attorney, or do nothing (which may result in a default judgment against them).
- Lawsuits between 2 or more parties seeking claims $25,000 or less.
- In most cases, a case may be filed either where the defendant(s) resides, has a place of business, conducts business or has a registered office (corporations). In some instances, the case may also be filed where the action occurred.
- You have the right to a jury trial and the right to an appeal beyond this court.
- You have the right to be represented by an attorney or you may choose to proceed without an attorney (pro per). The court does not appoint an attorney for civil matters.
- Court staff cannot give legal advice or instruct any parties on which documents to file.
- If the Court decides in your favor, it does not automatically mean that the defendant will pay the judgment and costs. You may have to take additional legal steps (i.e. garnishment, execution, recovery of possession) to obtain your money. The Court does not collect the money for you.
Initiating Action - By the Plaintiff
Filing the Claim: The plaintiff must file a Summons and Complaint (Form MC 01) with the court. All sections of the form must be completed such as:
- Current and correct address of all parties.
- Details of the complaint (i.e what happened).
- The amount of money they are asking for.
Serving the Summons & Complaint: The Summons and Complaint must be served on the defendant(s) within 91 days of the filing date by either a certified process server or any legally competent adult who is not a party in the lawsuit.
Responding to the Lawsuit - By the Defendant(s)
After being served: The defendant has to options to:
- Pay the claim
- retain an attorney
- responding in writing by filing an answer with the Court and the Plaintiff's attorney with 21 days of being served
- Do nothing, which may result in a default judgment in the Plaintiff's favor
- File a counterclaim
Failure to Respond or Appear: The plaintiff may request a default judgment against the defendant if no answer is filed which means the judge can grant the plaintiff's claim based upon evidence without hearing the defendants side of the issue.
|General Civil Filing Fees|