Filing a Small Claims Suit

The following information helps determine who is the proper person to file and appear in the Small Claims Division.

Appearing in Court

If Plaintiff is / then this person may file and appear in court:

  1. Individual / Anyone 18 years of age or older may file and appear on his/her own behalf
  2. Partnership / Any partner or full-time employee
  3. Proprietorship / The proprietor or any full-time employee
  4. Corporation / Any office or full-time employee

Maximum Judgment

A judgment for $5,500 plus court costs is the maximum amount allowed by law.

Jurisdiction

A claim may be filed in the Small Claims Division of the Berrien Trial Court if:

  • The defendant resides in Berrien County
  • The defendant conducts business in Berrien County
  • The incident took place in Berrien County
  • The defendant is employed in Berrien County

A Small Claims case cannot be filed for fraud, libel, slander, assault, battery, other intentional actions, or actions against a state or governmental agency.

Filing Forms

Small Claims filing forms (called an Affidavit and Claim) are available for purchase at the Courthouse or South County Building. (Instructions for completing the form are included.)