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Filing a Counterclaim Against the Plaintiff
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The defendant may file a claim against the plaintiff. This is called a counterclaim. The defendant must file the claim at least 5 days before the date set for a hearing (Saturday, Sunday, and holidays are not included).
The defendant must also pay a filing fee of $80.00 and the Conciliation Court office will notify the plaintiff if a counterclaim is filed. The counterclaim will be heard at the same date and time as the plaintiff's claim.
If the counterclaim is more that $10,000.00, the plaintiff's claim will be taken off of the calendar and the hearing will not be held. If the defendant fails to start an action in District Court based upon the counterclaim within 30 days, the plaintiff can reinstate the action in Conciliation Court. Conciliation court will mail notice of the new trial date to the parties by first class mail. Reinstatement of the Conciliation Court case is done by filing an affidavit with Conciliation Court. The affidavit must say that the defendant has not served you with a District Court summons stating his counterclaim.
How do you prepare for the hearing?
Conciliation Court hearings are informal, but you must be prepared to present your case. Attorneys are only allowed to represent parties in conciliation court without permission of the court. All parties and witnesses who appear will testify under oath. The witnesses should be present and ready to testify. If a witness is reluctant to appear, you may get a subpoena to compel them to appear. You can get a subpoena from the Conciliation Court office. You will need one subpoena for each witness you want to testify. There is a fee of $18.00 for each subpoena requested. Written statements and affidavits of persons not present in court have little value and in some cases may not be allowed as evidence.
You should also bring to court all other evidence, such as receipts, repair bills, estimates, photographs and other items to help prove your claim. You can also get a subpoena for documents relating to your claim that the defendant or some other person has but will not give to you.
Before you go to court, prepare a list of facts you wish to present. Organize your presentation as clearly and completely as possible so you will not forget important facts and details.
What happens if you do not appear for the hearing?
All parties must appear. If you do not appear for the hearng, the Court may dismiss your claim or award a default judgment against you. This may happen even if you originally brought the claim. If the defendant does not appear, the Court may award a default judgment in your favor.
Download the Conciliation Court Counterclaim form
TurboCourt is available for filing Counterclaims in Conciliation/Small Claims Court. TurboCourt guides you through a simple interview to ensure you answer every important question that is required by the Court for a complete, quick and accurate filing. Easy to understand help on every important topic is just a mouse click away - you don't have to guess what a particular word means, and you will be well prepared to come to Court. Applicants are required to pay a fee of $10.00 (plus applicable taxes) to use TurboCourt. This is in addition to the Conciliation/Small Claims filing fee.
TurboCourt online expert service will:
- Guide you through basic, easy-to-understand questions
- Complete your forms automatically based on your responses
- Give you the opportunity to learn more about legal terms and court procedures
- Allow you to provide more information than the standard court forms may permit
- Print all of your completed forms and instructions for filing with the Clerk
TurboCourt was reviewed by consultants to ensure the questions, instructions and information are easy to understand. To begin using TurboCourt, click here.