Small Claims Division
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
The jurisdiction of the Sandusky Municipal
Court includes the city of Sandusky, Perkins Township,
the village of Bay View and Castalia. In order
to file a small claim in Sandusky Municipal Court the
'action' had to have taken place within one of the above
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 and you must
provide documentation to support the amount you are claiming.
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.
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/her
parent or legal guardian.
If you are filing a Small Claim to retrieve a rental security
deposit, you cannot file if you were evicted from the
premises. If you are a landlord attempting to recover back
rent from an ex-tenant and you 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.
Deputy Clerks are NOT attorneys and cannot, by law, give
legal advice. If you require legal advice, you must get
advice from an attorney.
Filing the Small Claims Complaint with the
There is a $65 FILING FEE for each Small
Claims complaint (one or two defendants), which is due at the
time of filing. This payment can be made by cash or
check/money order made payable to Sandusky Municipal Court
(check must be from Ohio). DO NOT ADD THE $65 FILING FEE TO
THE AMOUNT YOU ARE SEEKING FROM THE DEFENDANT. The Court
will automatically include this amount in the Judgment figure,
thereby charging the filing fee to the Defendant. *There
is a $10 fee assessed for each additional defendant
(three or more).
When you are completing the Small Claims complaint form:
YOU ARE THE PLAINTIFF, THE PARTY YOU ARE FILING SUIT AGAINST
IS THE DEFENDANT.
YOU MUST PROVIDE THE CURRENT COMPLETE ADDRESS FOR THE
DEFENDANT(S) (including street address,
apartment number, PO Box number, etc). The Court will serve
the summons on the Defendant(s) by Certified Mail. The
Court does NOT serve Small Claims complaints c/o 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 by our
bailiff/process server, there is an additional fee of $10
that must be paid prior to the issuance of the summons.
DO NOT ADD THE $10 FEE TO THE AMOUNT YOU ARE SEEKING FROM
THE DEFENDANT. The Court will automatically include this
amount in the Judgment figure, thereby charging the Personal
Service fee to the Defendant. *If the Personal Service
is to be served out of our jurisdiction (i.e. by another
County's Sheriff's office) there will be additional fees
assessed (the amount varies by office/location).
Do NOT sign the complaint form immediately
as the signature of any/all Plaintiff's MUST be
witnessed by either a Notary Public or by a
Deputy Clerk of the Court. If you are providing statements,
invoices, receipts, etc with your complaint, please provide
a copy for the Court, a copy for each Defendant and
a copy for each Plaintiff listed on the
complaint. Any additional exhibits may be
brought to court on the date of the hearing. Also, please
be sure to sign the 'Request for Regular Mail Service'.
You may ask for interest at the statutory rate (currently
3% per ANNUM). 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 the 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 2 months into the future as your case probably will
not be on the docket prior to that time.
The Court will mail you a file-stamped copy of the complaint
(with any/all attachments) as well as a notice of the
hearing date/time. YOU MUST APPEAR AT THE HEARING,
FAILURE 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 either a TUESDAY,
WEDNESDAY OR THURSDAY in the Courtroom located in the
Sandusky City Building, 222 Meigs St., Sandusky, Ohio.
*Please note: If the Judgment Debtor contacts you PRIOR to
the Small Claims hearing date and wishes to pay you, be sure
to collect the following from them:
the Small Claims filing fee that you paid to the Court
if applicable: collect the Personal Service fee that you
paid the Court ($10)(you keep)
the local Court costs due to the Court (ask the Court
for this figure)
After you receive payment in full, you will need to send a
written notification to the Court stating that
this case has been "satisfied" and the amount
due was "paid in full. This written notification
should include the case number, Plaintiff name(s) and Defendant
name(s) at the top. Additionally, you will need to send
payment to the Court for the local Court costs
(cash, check/money order made payable to Sandusky Municipal
IF THE DEFENDANT FAILS TO APPEAR AT THE HEARING, YOU MAY BE
GRANTED A DEFAULT JUDGMENT. You will receive a copy of the
Magistrate's decision via regular mail. If a Judgment is
not rendered at the time of the hearing, due to a need to
further review by the Magistrate, once rendered, 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(s) and
the Defendant(s) have the right to appeal the Magistrate's
decision. The fee to file the objection is $50.00. You,
therefore, must allow at least 14 days from the time-stamped
date indicated on the Judgment entry before pursuing
A Judgment must be granted before any collection work can be
pursued. If a Judgment is obtained in your favor and the
Defendant refuses to pay, the Clerk's office will supply the
Plaintiff with the necessary forms to attempt collection of
After the appeal time has passed, you may file a Wage
Garnishment. You MUST provide the Court with
the name and address of the Defendant's employer. THE COURT
DOES NOT ACTIVELY PURSUE LOCATING EMPLOYMENT OF THE PARTIES.
The fee to file a Wage Garnishment is $10 (cash or
check/money order made payable to Sandusky Municipal Court).
This fee will be charged to the Defendant for reimbursement
to the Plaintiff. For more information about filing a
Wage Garnishment please contact the Court.
After the appeal time has passed, if you do not know where
the Defendant works, you may file a Bank
Attachment. The fee is $1 (check/money order
made payable to the bank where you wish to attach funds).
You will need to include the address for the bank with your
payment. This $1 fee will NOT be charged to the Defendant
as reimbursement to the Plaintiff. For more information
about filing a Bank Attachment please contact the Court.
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.
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. The Commission fee shall be two
percent (2%) on the 1st ten thousand ($10,000) and one
Small Claim cases will appear on credit reports and cannot
be removed until the Judgment figure and all Court costs
have been paid in full. 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.
If you have any further questions concerning the filing of a
small claim case, please call the Small Claims Division at