Florida Small Claims Pretrial
Florida Small Claims Court handles cases with damages under $5,000, excluding costs, interest, and potentially attorney fees; however, an overwhelming amount of those cases are based on defaulted credit card accounts. A majority of those credit card cases are filed not by the original creditor, but by a third party that is claiming to have purchased the debt.
Florida Small Claims Process
Once served with a small claims lawsuit, there will be a court date listed for the initial pretrial and/or mediation. If you hire Florin Legal to represent you in the case, you do not need to attend the pretrial and we will appear on your behalf. If you choose to represent yourself, be sure to arrive at the Courthouse at least 15 minutes early to allow ample time to get through security and find the appropriate courtroom.
Although each of the Florida County Courts have their own variations, the basic process is essentially the same. In most counties, the Judge or Clerk will give some basic instructions about the small claims process and start calling the cases individually. Prepare to be amazed by the number of cases where the Defendant does not appear and a default judgment is entered. Once your case is called, you will be asked if you admit or deny the allegations of the lawsuit. If you admit the allegations, the Court is likely to enter a judgment for the balance alleged in the lawsuit, but may give you an opportunity to enter into a payment plan with the opposing side. If you deny the allegations, the Court is likely to send you to mediation to see if the claim can be resolved by the parties.
Florida Small Claims Mediation
Small Claims Mediation is free for the parties and is handled by an independent mediator who has been certified by the Supreme Court of Florida. The conversations and negotiations between the parties are confidential and generally may not be disclosed to Judge to anyone else. If able to resolve the case at mediation, the agreement will be memorialized by a settlement stipulation and endorsed or approved by the Court. In the event you are unable to resolve the case in mediation, the case will be sent back to the Court to schedule a future trial date.
Cases Florin Legal Handles
Florin Legal handles small claims cases throughout the State of Florida including the following counties (links to clerk provided where applicable):
Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hamilton, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, Suwannee, Union, Volusia. Call for more information for cases in the Florida Panhandle or Miami-Dade/Monroe Counties.
Do not hesitate to call Florin Legal at (813)404-1203 to schedule a free consultation or for more information about the small claims pretrial or mediation.