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Small Claims

Small Claims Court

A special court designed to provide quick, informal and inexpensive resolution of relatively small civil suits (usually valued at $10,000 or less). Often lawyers are not allowed.

Hearing Information

We expect that a trial will take no more than one-half hour (with fifteen minutes for each side).  If you think you will need more time to put on your case, you need to let the court know as soon as possible so that we can allow more time on the schedule for you.
 
You must appear at the date and time on your "notice to appear."  Failure to appear at the time set will cause your case to be dismissed if you are the plaintiff, or a default judgment to be entered against you if you are the defendant.
Coos County has a program of pre-trial mediation conferences for small claims cases, which has proven to be very successful.
 
Mediation is a procedure that brings you and the other party together to discuss your dispute with a trained neutral person. The mediator can help you brainstorm ways to settle your differences, but lets the parties decide whether to settle the case or to go before the judge for a trial.  Mediation offers you a final opportunity to maintain control over the outcome of your dispute before turning it over to the judge. The mediator will keep confidential all the information discussed during mediation and will not be allowed to give testimony at the trial.
 
Each party must come to the Courthouse on the date designated with full authority to make and accept offers for settlement.  If more than one party is listed as defendant or plaintiff, each party is required to appear.  A party who does not appear may have a judgment entered against him or her.  An authorized representative may appear on behalf of a business, but must be familiar with the facts of the case and must have authority to settle.  Failure to appear with full authority may affect the prevailing party fee award at trial.
 
If you do not reach an agreement during mediation, the trial will be held on the same day as though the mediation had not occurred.  You should bring any evidence you want to present to the judge with you that day and be prepared for trial if you do not reach an agreement in mediation.
 
Please be prepared to spend most of the afternoon in the court house, if necessary. Many cases are scheduled at the same time.
If you have any questions, please call the Small Claims Clerk (541.751.2334).

Small Claims Forms

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