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How to file a small claim

Watch a video on how to file a Small Claim

The Small Claims Division was established by the Ohio General Assembly in 1967 with the enactment of Chapter 1925 of the Ohio Revised Code. The division of the court was created to provide a more informal, expeditious and inexpensive means for individuals to pursue claims for smaller sums of money. The monetary limit is currently $3,000, exclusive of interest and costs.

  • You do not need an attorney to file a small claims case; however, if you do not retain one, you assume ALL RESPONSIBILITY of the filing of your claim.
  • The small claims limit is $3,000.
  • A filing fee of $37 is required at the time of filing. Each additional defendant (person you are suing) costs $7.
  • The defendant must live in or conduct business in the City of Cleveland or Village of Bratenahl or the cause of action must have occurred in the City of Cleveland or Village of Bratenahl.
  • Please provide the complete names and addresses of all defendants and:
    • Proof of your small claim
    • Paid receipts
    • Written estimates of damages or loss should reflect the amount you are asking in your claim. (Although this information is not needed at the time of filing, please come prepared with documentation which will be presented to the magistrate at the hearing).
  • If you are filing against a business, it is suggested that you contact the Ohio Secretary of State to verify the following:
    • Proper name of the business
    • Proper name of the owner(s) of the business as registered with the Secretary of State’s office
    • Is there an attorney or agent that represents the corporation
  • Our clerks can assist you with your claim during regular business hours, Monday thru Friday. In order for us to allow sufficient time to assist in preparation of your claim, please arrive by 3:30 p.m.
  • If you are filing your case by mail, you must send along with the filing the following:
    • Additional copies of your small claim for all parties listed in your case.
    • Payment for the small claim (cash, check or money order)
    • A stamped,self-addressed envelope so we can send you a time-stamped copy with your hearing date affixed and your payment receipt.
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