For the most part, the only way to get a transfer of proceedings in a small claims court is if your case meets the legal criteria to necessitate having the case transferred to another small claims court in a different jurisdiction or to a different court. You will not be able to transfer a small claims case without a legally valid reason. If your case does meet the criteria, requesting and getting a transfer from the judge is not a difficult process.
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Note which jurisdiction the small claims case was originally filed. Small claims cases are filed by the county. Usually they are filed within either the county you live in, the county the other party lives in or the county where the incident that caused the claim took place. If the suit was not filed in any of these jurisdictions, then you may have legal grounds to transfer the case.
Visit the court clerk's office in the county where the original claim was filed and request a copy of a Change of Venue form.
Fill out the Change of Venue form with your information, the defendant's information, your case number and the reason why you are requesting a change of venue.
File the motion with the same court clerk's office and await a response from the judge presiding over the case.
Transferring a Case to Another Jurisdiction
See if you meet the requirements to transfer a small claims case to a higher court. The requirements will vary from state to state, but generally you can have a case transferred if the claim amount or counterclaim amount exceeds a specified threshold.
Obtain a Motion to Transfer form from the court clerk where the original claim was filed.
Fill out the form with the required information, which will include your name, the other party's name, your case number and the reason you are requesting a transfer.
File the form with the same court clerk's office and pay the associated filing fee, which will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
Provide notification in writing to the opposing party about your request to transfer. This is usually done by mail, but may be done by a process server.
Await to hear from a judge whether your request has been granted.
Transferring the Case to a Higher Court
Tips and warnings
- If your case arose from a landlord-tenant dispute, you may have to stay in small claims court by law. Some jurisdictions mandate that all landlord-tenants disputes are settled in small claims court.
- If you are transferring a small claims case to a higher court, you will most likely need to higher a lawyer since civil procedure in superior court tends to be very complex.
- If you transfer a small claims case to a higher court and you lose, you may have to pay the other party's attorney fees.
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