Sat, April 19th 2014 Serving the City of Sandusky, Perkins Township, and the Villages of Bayview and Castalia
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Small Claims Division

You may visit the Small Claims Division during the office hours of 7:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., Monday through Friday. The Small Claims Division is located in the City Hall Building, 222 Meigs Street, on the first floor. The phone number is 419-627-5917.

Small Claims Court is a division of the Sandusky Municipal Court and is governed by Chapter 1925 of the Ohio Revised Code, Rule 53 of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure, and Rule 101 (C (8) of the Ohio Rules of Evidence.

The jurisdiction of the Sandusky Municipal Court includes the City of Sandusky, Perkins Township, the villages of Bay View and Castalia. In order to file a small claim in the Sandusky Municipal Court, the action had to have taken place within one of the above locations.

Small Claims Court provides a quick, inexpensive and informal way of resolving various types of disputes with other individuals or companies. Various complaints heard in Small Claims Court include insurance claims, damage done to property, unreturned rental deposits, undelivered goods, repair problems, breach of warranty, defective products, etc.

You must be able to put a price on any damages you may have suffered as a result of the Defendant’s actions. Small Claims Court can decide claims for MONEY ONLY. The Small Claims magistrate cannot order a Defendant to do anything other than pay a specific sum of money. The Small Claims Court does not have jurisdiction in cases involving slander, libel, repossession or in cases which do not involve monetary damages.

Small Claims Court has a limit of $3,000.00, plus interest and court costs. You may not separate your claim into multiple suits. Cases that exceed this limit must be filed in the civil docket of this Court or if the amount exceeds $15,000.00 it should be filed at Erie County Common Pleas Court.

General Rules for Filing a Small Claim

There is a $57.00 filing fee for each Small Claims complaint.The filing fee is due at thetime of filing. This payment can be made by cash or money order payable to Sandusky Municipal Court. DO NOT ADD THE $57 FILING FEE TO THE AMOUNT YOU ARE ASKING FOR ON THE COMPLAINT. The Court will automatically include this amount in the Judgment figure, thereby charging the filing fee to the Defendant.

You may ask for interest at the statutory rate (currently 4% PER ANNUM-check with the court for rate at the time of your filing). Interest is granted from the date of Judgment. The court does not calculate interest, this will be your responsibility to compute the interest and file with Court on a quarterly basis.

If you are a business currently charging interest or finance charges on the account, at the time of filing, you should add these charges for two months into the future as your case probably will not be on the docket prior to that time.

You must know the complete address of the party you file suit against (including street address, apartment number, P.O. Box number, etc.)

If you are a minor, under 18, you must have your parent or guardian file the suit for you.

You may not sue a minor. You may sue a minor through his parent or legal guardian.

DEPUTY CLERKS ARE NOT ATTORNEYS AND CANNOT, BY LAW, GIVE LEGAL ADVICE. If you require legal advice, you must get advice from an attorney.

When a judgment is obtained and the Defendant refuses to pay, the Clerk’s office will supply the Plaintiff with the necessary forms to attempt collection of the judgment.

If you are filing a small claim to retrieve a rental security deposit, you cannot file a small claim if you were evicted from the premises.

If you are a landlord attempting to recover back rent from an ex-tenant, and have filed an eviction case against the defendant, the eviction case must have been dismissed without prejudice in order for you to file a small claim to collect any outstanding back rent.

If a lease agreement was signed, a copy must be included with your small claim filing.

If you are filing for damages that resulted from an accident, and you have not had the repairs made at the time of filing, you must provide the Court with copies of two (2) estimates. YOU WILL FILE FOR THE LESSER AMOUNT OF THE TWO ESTIMATES.

A Judgment must be granted before any collection work can be pursued. In order to file a wage attachment to collect on a small claim complaint, you will need to know where theDefendant is employed. THE COURT DOES NOT ACTIVELY PURSUE LOCATING EMPLOYMENT OF THE PARTIES. If you do not know where an individual works, you may file a bank attachment. If you do not know the actual banking institute used by the Defendant, you may request a bank attachment be issued to any local bank. Some banks do require the Defendant’s social security number in order to honor the attachment, so if you can provide the Defendant’s social security number it will be helpful as the court does not have this information available.

The Court will serve the summons on the Defendant by certified mail. The court does not serve small claim complaints c/o an employer as there is no proof that the defendant actually receives notification of the filing of a claim. If there is a need for personal service of a small claim complaint, there is an additional fee of $10 that must be paid prior to the issuance of the summons. This additional fee will be charged to the Defendant if Judgment is granted to the Plaintiff.

When completing the multi-carbon form, do not sign the complaint immediately as your signature will need to be notarized. You may have your signature notarized by notary public or you may bring the form to the Court and request that a deputy clerk witness your signature.

Upon receipt of your filing and payment of the filing fee, the court will mail you a notice of hearing. YOU MUST APPEAR AT THE HEARING; FALURE TO DO SO, WILL RESULT IN THE CASE BEING DISMISSED. The hearing will be held approximately 5-6 weeks after you file your complaint with the Court, and will be held at 8:00 AM on a MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY OR A THURSDAY in the courtroom located in the Sandusky City building, 222 Meigs St., Sandusky, Ohio.

If service of the claim was made by certified mail and the Defendant contacts you and wishes to make restitution prior to the court date, please contact the court for the exact amount that you need to collect.

If service of the claim was made by personal service and the Defendant contacts you and wishes to make restitution prior to the court date, please contact the court for the exact amount that you need to collect.

IF THE DEFENDANT FAILS TO APPEAR AT THE HEARING, YOU MAY BE GRANTED A DEFAULT JUDGMENT. You must wait at least 14 days after the Judgment has been granted, in order to allow the time for filing of any appeals, before pursuing collection of the claim.

If a Judgment is not rendered at the time of the hearing, due to a need of further review by the Magistrate, you will receive a copy of the Magistrate’s decision by regular mail. It could take several weeks, depending on the time needed to further research the case before a decision is made.

Once the decision has been made, both the Plaintiff and the Defendant have a right to appeal the Magistrate’s Decision. The fee to file the appeal is $50.00. You, therefore, must allow at least 20 days from the time-stamped date indicated on the judgment entry before pursuing collection. The additional time, beyond the 14 day limit, is to allow for mail service of the Magistrate’s decision upon all parties.

After the appeal time has passed and you wish to pursue the collection of the claim, if you know where the person is working, you may file a wage attachment. The fee to file this attachment is $10.00, made payable to Sandusky Municipal Court. This fee will again be charged to the Defendant for reimbursement to the Plaintiff. If you wish to file a bank attachment, the fee is $1.00 payable, in a check or money order, to the bank where you wish to attach funds. This $1.00 fee will not be charged to the Defendant as reimbursement to the Plaintiff.

Small claims cases will appear on credit reports and cannot be removed until the Judgment and court costs have been paid in full.

Any funds received by the Court, will be used to pay the court costs before any payments are forwarded to the person receiving the Judgment Order. The Court shall charge a Commission fee for receiving and disbursing money paid or deposited with the Clerk of this Court pursuance to an order of the Court or on Judgments. The Commission fee shall be two percent (2%) on the 1st ten thousand ($10,000) and one percent (1%) thereafter.

A SATISFACTION ENTRY IS NEEDED TO REMOVE THE CLAIM FROM A CREDIT REPORT. THEREFORE, IN ADDITION TO THE JUDGMENT FIGURE, ALL COURT COSTS MUST BE PAID BEFORE A SATISFACTION ENTRY CAN BE FILED WITH THE COURT.