A small claim may now be filed in Justice Court in some circumstances:

·  The defendant must live in Redmond, Terrebone, Sisters, or LaPine, or the action must have occurred in one of those locations.

·  A small claim can be filed in person or by mail at the Justice Court main office in Redmond:

·  737 SW Cascade, Redmond, OR 97756 or P.O. Box 1750, Redmond, OR 97756.

·  A fee must be paid at the time of filing. 

·  You may contact the Justice Court at (541) 617-4758.

·  Contact Justice Court to obtain forms, instructions and current fees.

SMALL CLAIMS INSTRUCTIONS

PLAINTIFF and DEFENDANT:

PLAINTIFF – person or company filing the Claim & Notice.

DEFENDANT – person or company being sued.

To file a Small Claim in this court, Defendant must either live in Deschutes County
or the action must have happened in Deschutes County.

All persons must be listed by their proper names, correctly  spelled.
For example: John P. Doe and Jane M. Doe, not Mr. & Mrs.  John Doe.

Include the mailing and residence or business address of  all parties.

If any person involved in the dispute is under the age of 18 years, in the military service,
or is mentally incapacitated, you may want to  consult an attorney for assistance.

Businesses:

If a business is a corporation, identify it as such. The name  and address of the registered agent or an officer of the corporation should also be provided.
For example: John’s Auto Shop, Inc., an Oregon corporation, Registered agent:
 John  P. Doe. If you need information about the corporation, call the
Corporation  Division at (503) 986-2200.

If a person or business is a partnership, list the name of the partnership after the
 name of each partner. For example: John P. Doe and Jane  M. Smith,
d.b.a. J & J Auto Shop, a partnership.

COURT FEES:

List of filing fees – select to view list of court filing fees.

The court will not file your claim unless you pay the required filing fee.

To recover your filing fee and service fee, be sure to fill in the amounts on the Claim and Notice.

SERVING THE CLAIM:

A separate Claim and Notice must be served on each Defendant individually.

Methods of Service:

  • Sheriff of the county where Defendant lives;
  • private process server listed in Yellow Pages under Process Servers;
  • any competent person 18 years old or older who is a resident of  Oregon and who is neither a party to the dispute, nor an officer, director,  employee of, or attorney for any party to the dispute;
  • Certified mail by RESTRICTED DELIVERY, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED.  If the Defendant served does not personally sign for the delivery, you must then  serve by another method described above. You may obtain additional certified copies of the Claim & Notice from the court for $4 each.

Substitute Service:

If Defendant cannot be found personally at his/her usual place of abode,then service may be made by leaving a copy of the Claim and Notice with any person over 14 years of age who resides at Defendant’s abode.  When service is made in this manner, Plaintiff must mail a certified true copy of the Claim and Notice to the Defendant at his/her usual place of abode together with a statement of the date, time and place at which service was made.  Substitute Service Notice can be obtained from the court or by clicking on the document title.. Mail one to each Defendant to be served and file a copy of each with the court.  Your process server may do the mailing.

DESCHUTES COUNTY SERVICE FEES:

Sheriff$25.00
Private Process Server$25.00 (generally)
Certified Mail$5.00

PLAINTIFF’S DISMISSAL:

Each Defendant must file an Answer within 14 calendar days after being served with a copy of the Claim and Notice. Failure to file an Answer may result in a default judgment being entered. Defendant’s mailing address must be written on the Answer form, which is available at the Court Information office. The Answer will not be accepted by the court without the required filing fee, unless a judge has granted a request to waive or defer the fee.

  • If Defendant does not Answer or Admit Claim:
    If Defendant does not file an answer within 14 days after he/she was served with the Claim and Notice, Plaintiff can fill out a Request for Default Judgment, Non-military/Non-Minor Affidavit and Money Judgment.  Forms are available at the Court Information office,(or by clicking on the document title)  and there is no fee to file the form.
  • If Defendant Admits the Claim:
    Defendant should mark this option on the Answer form if they agree with the Claim. Defendant must provide proof to the court that the Claim has been paid to Plaintiff or, if the Claim is for recovery of specific personal property, that any property demanded has been delivered to the Plaintiff. There is no fee to file an Answer when Defendant admits the Claim.
  • If Defendant Denies the Claim and Demands a Hearing:
    The court will set a hearing date and parties will be notified of the date by mail.  Hearings are informal, with parties appearing without attorneys.  At no cost, the court will provide an impartial mediator to help you settle the dispute without a hearing. If the parties cannot agree in mediation, the case will go to trial before a judge or hearings officer that same day.
  • If Defendant Denies the Claim, Demands a Hearing and Files a Counterclaim:
    The counterclaim must involve the same dispute as the Plaintiff’s claim. Counterclaim forms are available at the Court Information office.

If the counterclaim exceeds $3,500:

  • Defendant must file a motion to transfer the case from the Small Claims Department to Circuit Court. If the motion for transfer is not made, the counterclaim will be stricken as if not claimed.
  • Defendant must pay the transfer fee in addition to the filing fee.  Plaintiff must pay an additional filing fee.
  • Plaintiff’s claim will no longer be limited to the amount stated in the Claim and Notice.
  • The case may go to mandatory arbitration.

If Defendant Denies the Claim &  Demands a Jury Trial (Claim must be over $750):

  • Plaintiff must file a formal complaint in the Circuit Court and pay an additional filing fee. Plaintiff’s claim will no longer be limited to the amount stated in the Claim and Notice.  The case will be referred to arbitration unless the title of the complaint states “NOT SUBJECT TO MANDATORY ARBITRATION”.

JUDGMENT:

A judgment is valid for 10 years.  If it is not satisfied, it can be renewed for another 10 years. You can transcribe a Small Claim judgment to the Circuit Court judgment docket upon paying the required fee.  If your case was filed on or after January 15, 1998, you must file a Lien Certificate to create a lien against real property.

All payments are to be paid directly to the judgment creditor or the creditor’s attorney; the court cannot accept payment from a judgment debtor. The most common way a small claim judgment is collected is by use of a Writ of Garnishment.  You may want to contact an attorney to advise you of your options for collection.

When the judgment is paid in full, the judgment creditor must file a Satisfaction of Judgment with the court.  That form is available at the Court Information office. If the judgment has been paid in full, but the creditor will no file a Satisfaction of Judgment, read ORS 18.410.  You may need to consult an attorney for assistance.

If the following information does not  answer your questions, you may call the Oregon State Bar tape library at  1-800-452-4776 (tape #7004) or consult an attorney.
Oregon.gov has several useful resources including Oregon Revised Statutes, and Oregon Administrative Rules.
The court clerk may answer questions about Small Claims filing procedures, but is prohibited  from giving legal  advice.