The Magistrate Court is also referred to as small claims court. This is filed in attempts of collecting debt or property you feel is owed to you. You can file a claim for which you are seeking $15,000 or less. This limit applies to both the claim of the Plaintiff and counterclaim of the Defendant (if there would be a counterclaim). Interest and court costs do not affect the jurisdictional amount.
The Magistrate Court can not issue an injunction or order that would make a party take action to “fix” something. The Magistrate Court has the authority to give a monetary judgement but does not have the authority to make a party repair items or return property.
The Magistrate Court has venue it’s county being the same county where the defendant lives. If you are filing against someone who lives in another county, you will not be able to file in Carroll County. You will have to get assistance from the county where the defendant lives.
If you have already filed in the wrong county, the case can be transferred to the appropriate court. An order is signed by the judge to have the case transferred, however, you will have to pay $25 to have the defendant served in the county it is being transferred to. For example: If you learn that the defendant lives in Douglas County, you will have to send the Magistrate Court of Carroll County a money order or check made payable to Douglas County Magistrate Court. The Magistrate Court of Carroll County would pay the filing fee for transferring your case.
**Once a civil case has been filed, the task begins to serve the defendant. A defendant can be served at their residence or place of employment if it is in this county. Service times varies. Some defendants are quickly served, but others may take several months to serve. This may happen for different reasons:
- No one will come to the door
- Bad Address (no such number or need apt#)
- No One Home (they may work odd hours or on a swing shift)
- Can not Locate Residence (could this be a new subdivision)
- Dogs (won’t allow you to come on property)
- Moved (house vacant)
- Not in Carroll County
Once the defendant is served, they have a total of 45 days to file an answer. When they file their answer a court date will be set and you be notified by mail.
The Magistrate Courtroom is located in the rear of the building. Your case will be here at the same place you filed.
On the day of court, bring every piece of evidence you have that supports your claim. Subpoenas may be purchased once you get your court date for $10.50 each. If you have a witness who will come without a subpoena you can bring that witness. Be mindful that we can not guarantee that subpoenas will be served if you wait too late before purchasing one. They can not be purchased later than 24 hours of the court date, but it is not possible at all times to find the witness you want to be subpoenaed in 24 hours. The sooner they are purchased, the more time our Constable has to locate your witness.