Small Claims

General Information

We’ve prepared this web page to give you important information about the Small Claims Department of the Clerk’s Office. We hope you find it helpful. If you’d like additional information, we invite you to call us at (904) 255-2000.

First, let’s define exactly what a Small Claims case is: It’s a legal action filed in county court to settle minor legal disputes among parties. The amount of money involved must be $8,000 or less, excluding costs, interest and attorney fees. Because Small Claims court is considered a “people’s court,” you don’t need to have an attorney to file a claim. Forms to file a Small Claim case are available at the County Civil Department at the Clerk’s Office and right here on our website. Attorneys are not precluded from this court, but again, they are not required.

The Statement of Claim form is available at the Clerk’s Office or on this website. If the form is signed outside of our office, please note that it needs to be notarized. It can also be signed in the presence of a deputy clerk here at the Clerk’s Office.

The case is filed in the county in which the incident took place. If the case is filed in the wrong county, the Defendant may ask the court to change the venue to the proper county.

 

 

Filing

When filing a Small Claims case, you need to be certain that you are suing the proper party. Before filing your claim, you should make sure you have the proper name(s) and address(s) of the party(s) you want to sue. You should also attempt to get the full names and addresses of individuals. If you are suing a business, please contact the Secretary of State at (850) 245-6051 or visit www.sunbiz.org to get the information needed to have your summons served on the Registered Agent of the corporation. If you have any attachments to prove your claim, please provide the court with one copy for the file and one copy to be served on each Defendant. This is required.

Service

You can have your summons served in one of three ways: by the sheriff, by a process server or by certified mail. Please note that certified mail can be served only within the state of Florida. For Duval County addresses only, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office will serve a summons for a fee of $40.00 per Defendant.

For serving a summons outside of Duval County, you’ll need to contact the sheriff’s office in the appropriate county to learn about their service fee and address. Submit the fee for the out-of-county sheriff in a separate payment, made payable to that out-of-county sheriff. Also include a pre-addressed stamped envelope for that sheriff. Some sheriff’s offices do not accept personal checks. So please make sure to check on accepted forms of payment.

You can find a private process server in the telephone directory, under “process servers.” The process server will explain the service fee and procedures.

Pretrial

When your case is filed, you will be given a pretrial date. All parties will be required to attend. The Clerk will call your case, if both parties are present, the Clerk will ask the defendant if he or she admit or denies owning the debt. If the defendant is not served, you may attempt service again by obtaining an alias summons from the Clerk. A fee of $10.00 for each defendant is required for the issuance of an alias summons.

Mediation

Mediation may take place during the time scheduled for the pretrial conference. Mediation is a process whereby an impartial and neutral third person called a mediator acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties, without prescribing what the resolution should be. I t is an informal and non-adversarial process with the objective of helping the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement.

In mediation, decision making rests with the parties. Negotiations in county court mediation are primarily conducted by the parties. Counsel for each party may participate. However, presence of counsel is not required. If a full agreement is not reached at mediation, the remaining issues of the case will be set for trial. Mediation communications are confidential and privileged except where disclosures are required or permitted by law.

Judgments

The Clerk’s Office offers an information sheet included in the Small Claims Packet below that gives you options on how to collect on a judgment. Because collections can be a complex matter, you may want to contact an attorney for guidance. It’s important to understand that the courts do not collect the judgments for you. 

Settlement

If you and the other party reach a settlement, the Clerk’s Office must be notified in writing.

The Small Claims Department provides customer service for filing legal documents both in person at our office and over the telephone. But please understand that it is against the law for the Clerk’s Office to offer legal advice. Those needing legal assistance should consider speaking to an attorney.

Viewing Case Information Online

Every document filed in a case is entered into the Case Docket. For your convenience, case information can be accessed online through the Clerk Online Resource ePortal (CORE). If you have question or concerns about CORE, please email the CORE Helpdesk.

E-Filing

Electronic filing (e-filing) is now required for attorneys everywhere in Florida. For more information about e-filing, please visit the E-filing Portal. If you need help getting started, please just email the Clerk’s Office at efiling@duvalclerk.com.

Filing Documents Without an Attorney

If you’re representing yourself without an attorney, you can choose to file documents electronically online using the statewide e-filing portal at www.myflcourtaccess.com. Of course, the portal is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the filing of documents. E-filing is not required if you are representing yourself, and the Clerk’s Office will continue to accept paper filings.

Small Claims Packets

Small Claims forms and instructions are included in the Small Claims Packet, which is available to download free of charge, or you can also purchase a Small Claims Packet by visiting the Clerk’s Office for $15.00.

IMPORTANT: Confidential Information within Court Filings

Please be advised that the Florida Supreme Court has substantially amended Rule 2.420 (Public Access to Judicial Branch Records) in SC11-2466. The Rule involves procedures regarding confidentiality of Court records and requires filers to notify the Clerk of confidential information contained in any filings. The amendment was effective May 1, 2013 and may be accessed at the following website link.

Please take special notice that the Court may impose sanctions under Rule 2.420 (i) for non-compliance.

For your convenience, an interactive form for providing notice of confidential information within court filings is available by following the link below.

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Small Claims Documents & Publications

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where are County Civil / Small Claims hearings held?

They are held at the Duval County Courthouse, located at 501 West Adams Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32202.

Is there a fee required to record a notice of lis pendens in a new case?

Yes, the recording fee is $5 for the first page and $4 for each additional page. In addition, there is an indexing fee of $1 per name after the first four names.

Is there a fee to record a notice of dismissal and release of lis pendens (including cancellation of lis pendens, discharge of lis pendens, and release of lis pendens)?

Yes, the recording fee is $10 for the first page and $8.50 for each additional page. In addition, there is an indexing fee of $1 per name after the first four names.

How much does the Sheriff’s Office charge to serve a summons and complaint?

The charge is $40 per summons. The payment must be separate from other fees.

What happens if the defendant in a County Civil / Small Claims case cannot be located to be served with my complaint?

If the defendant has not been served with your complaint, your hearing date will be canceled. But your case will remain open for six months to give you time to locate the defendant and provide the court with another address for service. It’s important to make sure that the defendant is at the address you supply prior to filing your complaint.

Filing fees are non-refundable if the Sheriff’s Office cannot locate the defendant for you.

How will I know if a defendant in a County Civil / Small Claims case has been served?

By contacting the Sheriff's Office or your process server. You may also contact the Clerk's office at the address below.

If the defendant is not served in a County Civil / Small Claims case, are there additional fees due if I locate another address?

The Clerk’s Office charges a statutory summons-issuance fee of $10 per defendant. In addition, if you use the Sheriff’s Office for service, they will charge $40 to attempt service at another location.

Can an attorney appear in County Civil or Small Claims court?

Yes, even though attorneys are not required in small claims court, you or the opposing party may hire an attorney.

Office Information

Small Claims Department

Office Hours

Monday through Friday (excluding holidays): 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Mailing Address

Duval County Clerk of Courts

Attn: SMALL CLAIMS DEPARTMENT

501 West Adams Street, Room 1054

Jacksonville, FL 32202

Phone

(904)255-2000

Public-service windows for the Small Claims Department are located in the West Lobby on the First Floor of the Duval County Courthouse.

Contact the Small Claims department

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Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public-records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing.