If you have a small claims case, which in Memphis, in Shelby County is for $25,000 or less, it is a civil lawsuit. You would file your lawsuit in the Civil Division of the General Sessions Court in Memphis.
The first stage is to go to the clerk’s office in the Civil Division of the Shelby County General Sessions Court and collect a form which will start the issuing of a summons for a civil case worth less than $25,000. You then need to complete the form, ensuring that you state the reason for your lawsuit very clearly and there must be sufficient detail so that the other party can prepare their defense. You can use additional paper if you need to.
The next step is to hand the paper over to the clerk, and pay the filing fee which is around $150.
Once your case has been filed, then the clerk’s office will send a summons to the defendant and the date of the hearing will be set. Should the defendant not appear for the hearing, then the judge will either set another date, or you will win the case. If you win then the judge will decide the amount to award you which include recovery of your court costs.
However, you alone have to try and recover the amount awarded, which you can start 10 days after the judgment is recorded in the case file.
Small claims often involve resolving business disputes, negligence on behalf of doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects and other professionals and insurance disputes. Although the system has been established so that individuals can bring a small claim themselves, it is usually worth taking the advice of an attorney as the case may indeed be larger than at first thought and working with an attorney will give you a greater chance of success.