Small Claims Court


West Virginia Small Claims Court

West Virginia Small Claims Court

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West Virginia Small Claims Court

 

West Virginia small claims court

 

The West Virginia small claims court is a division of the Magistrate Court that hears cases that involve torts, contracts, and landlord/tenant actions where the amount in question is no greater than $5,000.  The West Virginia small claims court is a court of limited jurisdiction that is presided over by a judge and does not automatically have a jury.  For a jury to be requested the amount in question must be greater than $20 or the case must involve an eviction proceeding.  Small claims actions are a great way for plaintiffs, with limited time and resources, to sue in court for money damages where, to do otherwise, would be inefficient.

 

In order to commence a West Virginia small claims action a plaintiff must file a Civil Complaint in the clerk of the Magistrate’s court where there is jurisdiction.  Personal jurisdiction is had in the Magistrate court in the county where the defendant resides, can be found, where the contract was signed or performed, or where the cause of action accrued.  The Civil complaint may be picked up at the clerk’s office or by downloading the form off of the courts website.  The Civil Complaint must contain the names, addresses and phone numbers of all the parties involved in the suit; the amount of damages being sought; and an explanation of why the defendant owes the plaintiff money.  The clerk of the court will charge a filing fee between $20 and $60, depending on the county, to process the Civil Complaint.

 

Once the Civil Complaint is filed the plaintiff must arrange for service of process on the defendant.  This is to ensure that the defendant is aware of the action against him, when and where to appear in court, and a chance to reply to the allegations.  Service of process may be done by two ways.  Either the clerk can send the Civil Complaint and Summons to the defendant by certified mail with return receipt requested; or the plaintiff can arrange for the sheriff, of the county where the defendant lives, to personally serve the defendant.

 

If you are looking to file a claim in a West Virginia small claims court you may search the West Virginia Judiciary’s www.courtswv.gov/index.html to find the court that has jurisdiction over your case.

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