Small Claims Hearings FAQs
Who will preside over the small claim?
At the 56-B District Court, the district judge or attorney magistrate presides over a small claim.
Who has the burden of proof?
The Plaintiff has the burden of proof on proving both liability and damages.
What is the standard of proof?
The standard of this burden is preponderance of the evidence. This means the Plaintiff must have a stronger case than the Defendant as to liability and as to damages.
What happens if the Plaintiff does not show up at the hearing?
The case will be dismissed wtihout prejudice. If the case is dismissed without prejudice, the Plaintiff may start the case over.
What happens if the Defendant does not show up at the hearing?
A default judgment will be entered against the Defendant.
What do I bring to a small claims hearing?
Bring all your documents, witnesses, and other relevant evidence with you to court. The judge will ask you for your testimony, and at the time, you will be able to present your evidence.
What happens at a small claims hearing?
In general, the judge will first ask the Plaintiff to state their case. Then, the judge will hear from the Defendant. At different times, the judge will ask questions of the parties and witnesses about the evidence presented. Remember, this is your day in court so take your time to fully express yourself.
What if I don't agree with the other side's testimony?
After each party has had their opportunity to be heard, the judge will ask you if there is anything further you wish to say. At that time, you may offer what you feel would best clarify the facts.
What happens if the Plaintiff wins?
The Plaintiff will get a judgment. This will give the Plaintiff a legal right of enforcement of the judgment.
How are judgments enforced?
Please see the FAQ page on how to collect on a money judgment.