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Small Claims - How to File

If you are filing in Small Claims, it must be for damages under the amount of $5,000. You may obtain the forms at no charge, from the Small Claims Office or from Additional Information see Forms. You may also access and complete the forms through the online forms program Turbo Court for a nominal fee.

You can file against either an individual or a business. If you are filing against a business, you need to find out if the business is incorporated. If the business is incorporated, you must obtain the name of an officer or a registered agent of the corporation. To obtain this information, contact the Secretary of State, Corporate Division, by visiting the website Florida Department of State - Division of Corporations listed under related links. From this site you will be able to find out if the business is incorporated, the name of a corporate officer or registered agent and an address for service.

At the time of filing your case, you have a choice of how to serve the defendant(s). You may request that the defendant(s) be served by the Sheriff's Department, special process server or certified mail. The Charlotte County Sheriff's Department charges $40.00 (cash or money order only) per defendant. Many of the out-of-county sheriff's offices also charge $40.00 per defendant. The Clerk will assess $10.00 to issue each summons and an additional $1.00 per defendent to cover postage for mailing any out-of-town County Sheriffs Offices. Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller fees should be a separate check made payable to Roger D. Eaton, Clerk.

The Special Process Servers are appointed by the Chief Judge, please contact Court Administration for a list of approved process servers.

Certified mail can only be used within the State of Florida. The fee for service by certified mail is $6.80 for upto 1 oz (1-10 pages) per defendant. Checks should be made payable to Roger D. Eaton, Clerk.

It is required that you supply copies of any paperwork or documents that you plan to use to substantiate your claim. Documents - such as receipts, contracts or lease agreements '- must be provided for the court file and one copy for each defendant that is named in your claim. Please have all documents copied prior to the time of filing. There is a $1.00 per page charge for all copies made by the Clerk's Office.

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