Use these forms if you want to bring a lawsuit against someone who owes you money or who has possession of personal property you want returned. Review the Citizens Guide to Small Claims Court prepared by the Office of the Attorney General. If you need help the clerk of the small claims court will assist you, but can not give legal advice.
The maximum you can collect through a judgment in small claims court is $7,000.00. The value of the property you seek to recover in small claims court can not exceed $7,000.00. If you are seeking damages that have not been determined or agreed upon you can not file in small claims court, but must file in the civil division of the justice court.
You must pay the court clerk a fee for filing this form. The fees in small claims court total $30.00.
After you complete the forms, file them with the clerk of the small claims court. The “Small Claims Complaint” must be signed in the presence of the clerk of the small claims court or the judge.
The clerk of the small claims court will give you a hearing date when issuing the “Order of Court and Notice to Defendant”.
You must have a copy of the “Small Claims Complaint” and the “Order of Court and Notice to Defendant” served on the defendant.
The defendant must be served in the county in which the small claims court is located. [Yellowstone County] Service of the defendant outside the county of the small claims court is not valid.
The defendant must be served not less than 5 days before the hearing date set by the clerk of the small claims court. If service can not be made on the defendant within this time, you can ask the clerk of court to reset the hearing date.
You can not serve the defendant yourself. You can serve the defendant by having a levying officer or the sheriff give the forms to the defendant. You can serve the defendant by having a person over the age of 18 give the forms to the defendant. Proof of service must be signed by the person making the service and filed with the clerk of the small claims court. The original “Order of Court and Notice to Defendant” must be returned to the clerk of the small claims court before the hearing date.
The clerk of the small claims court maintains a list of qualified levying officers. You will be required to pay all fees of the levying officer or the sheriff. The fees for service varies, you should contact the levying officer or the sheriff for the fees they charge.
You must attend the hearing. Failure to attend the hearing will result in dismissal of your complaint. Be sure to bring along any witnesses, books, papers, or other evidence which will help prove to the court that you are entitled to a money judgment or possession to the property.
While the Justice Court clerks are pleased to assist you in any way possible, please understand that we are unable to provide legal advice. If you need legal advice or have questions, please contact an attorney.