Michigan Small Claims Court
UPDATED: June 19, 2018
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Michigan legal disputes worth less than $3,000 in damages are eligible for litigation through the Michigan small claims court system, a streamlined process that simplifies court cases and reduces costs for people seeking small amounts of money. If you’re experiencing a landlord/tenant dispute, an argument over goods and services or contractual obligations, or damages related to an accident or personal injury that total less than $3,000, you could qualify to file a Michigan small claim.
The Michigan small claims courts do not allow the use of attorneys, which cuts down on costs for the plaintiff (person filing the lawsuit) and defendant (person named in the lawsuit). You may file a small claim against an individual or a business entity.
Claim Limit: Michigan’s small claims limit is $3,000 total.
Where to File Your Small Claim: In Michigan, small claims are filed in the small claims division of district court. Claims should be filed either in the county in which you live or the county in which the defendant resides.
Cases Handled: Small claims are non-criminal in nature and involve disputes over amounts of money or damages that total less than $3,000. Common types of cases include landlord/tenant disputes, personal injury, car accidents, failure to deliver goods, and contract disputes.
Who Is Eligible To File: Business entities (corporations or partnerships) and individuals 18 years of age or older are eligible to file a small claim in the state of Michigan. Children under the age of 18 may not file alone; a parent or legal guardian is required to file on their behalf.
Filing Your Small Claim: Michigan small claims court requires filing Form DC-84 (Affidavit and Claim form) to begin the small claims process. This form, which requires basic information about the amount of money sought, the identities and addresses of the plaintiff and defendant(s), and the nature of the small claim, requires a small filing fee. Once you have filed this form with the court clerk, you will be issued a hearing date. You must then serve a copy of the DC-84 on the defendant(s) to notify them of the case and the hearing date; you may do so via the court’s certified mail service or a paid process server. Hearings are normally scheduled for 15 to 45 days after service is completed.
If You Need Help: Court employees, law librarians, and other non-lawyer personnel are not necessarily authorized to provide legal advice for your small claim. If you’ve asked for help to no avail, you can get in touch with the State Bar of Michigan for referrals to legal aid providers and other information, or consult the state court’s small claims self-help page for more information.
For more state-specific information and links to your state's small claims court resources, see Small Claims Court Information and Links.