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State of Vermont Judiciary
This Site: Civil Division
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Notary Resource Center
How to Start Your Small Claims Suit
Rules of Small Claims Procedures
Small Claims Booklet
Some Do's and Don'ts
The Day of the Hearing
What Happens Next
What To Do if You are Sued in Small Claims Court
What You Can Do to Try to Collect Your Money
What You Should Do For Your Hearing
Frequently Asked Questions
How can a decision be appealed?
Either party in a small claims case may appeal to the clerk of the superior court by filing a notice of appeal on a form provided by the court, together with the filing fee of $100.00 within 30 days from the entry of the judgment. An appeal is not a new trial. On appeal, you are not allowed to present new facts nor are you allowed to retry old facts.
ALL APPEALS MUST BE FILED NO LATER THAN 30 DAYS FROM THE DATE THE JUDGMENT IS ENTERED
. You may wish to consult a lawyer before deciding to appeal a judgment because of the complexity of the process.
How much can you sue for?
Only claims for monetary damages not exceeding $5,000.00 (i.e., claims for the price of goods sold, money lent, rent in arrears, etc.) may be filed in small claims court.
You can sue for up to $5,000.00 in small claims court. If you think someone owes you more than $5,000.00, you can sue in superior court, but the procedure in superior court is more complicated, time-consuming and expensive (you will probably need a lawyer). If your claim is for more than $5,000.00, but you decide to sue in small claims court anyway, you will give up your claim to any amount in excess of $5,000.00 (exclusive of court costs). Even so, it may well be worth your while to choose small claims court because it is less expensive and less complex than superior court.
A claim in excess of the $5,000.00 statutory limit may not be split into two or more claims.
The amount you sue for should include both the actual damage done to you or your property plus any additional money lost as a result of the actions of the party you are suing. For example, if someone ran into your car and did $200.00 worth of damage, and you had to rent a car for $40.00 while yours was being repaired, you should sue for $240.00. At the hearing, you must be able to prove all damages and expenses claimed in order to recover this total amount from the other party.
What is different about Small Claims Court?
You do not need a lawyer. Of course, if you wish, you may have one. The papers you file and the procedures used at the hearing are simple and don’t involve many of the legal technicalities used in other courts. You can argue your side of the case in your own words and present evidence to back it up. By filing in small claims court, you as plaintiff give up your right to a jury trial.
What is Small Claims Court?
Small claims court is a people’s court, designed to help people to recover relatively small amounts of money due them without having to hire a lawyer. The procedures are simple, informal, and inexpensive.
Here are a few examples of situations in which you might want to use small claims court:
- If you buy a television or appliance and it breaks down right away, but the dealer refuses to refund your money
- If you sold goods to someone and that person refuses to pay for them
- If a customer refuses to pay on an overdue account
- If someone damages your car, but won’t pay to have the damage repaired and your insurance doesn’t cover it
- If you do work for someone and that person refuses to pay you
- If a mechanic fails to repair your car even though you paid the bill
- If you need to collect past due rent from a tenant
- If your landlord refuses to return your security deposit and you think you are entitled to have it returned to you
Where can you sue?
Small claims court is a special part of the Vermont Superior Court, and you are required to sue in the court in the county where you reside or the county where the defendant resides. Under Rule of Small Claims Procedure 2(b), the Court has the authority to change the location of the case to a place in which either party resides.
Who can sue in Small Claims Court?
Anyone at least 18 years old with a claim for money damages, (subject to a jurisdictional limit which shall be discussed later) can sue in small claims court. The complaint must be your own; you cannot sue on behalf of a friend or relative. If you are under 18, or under guardianship, your parent or guardian can sue on your behalf. Corporations or partnerships may also sue in small claims court.
Acceptance of Service
ADA Request Customer
Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
Jury Service in Vermont Courts FAQ's (Trying Times)
Transcript Order Form
Small Claims Forms
Disclosure of Exempt Income
Motion for Trustee Process Against Earnings
Notice to Defendant of Judgment Order in Small Claims Court
Notice to Plaintiff of Judgment Order in Small Claims Court
Notification by Plaintiff (Judgment Creditor) Judgment has been paid in full
Petition to Enforce a Restitution Judgment
Small Claims Answer Form & Instructions
Small Claims Appeal Information
Small Claims Booklet
Small Claims Complaint
Small Claims Court Motion for a Financial Disclosure Affidavit
Small Claims Financial Disclosure Statement