POLK COUNTY SMALL CLAIMS
YOU HAVE NOW ATTENDED A PRETRIAL CONFERENCE ON A SMALL CLAIMS ACTION. THIS WILL BE THE ONLY NOTICE YOU WILL RECEIVE CONCERNING YOUR TRIAL DATE, AND WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO PREPARE FOR YOUR TRIAL. DO NOT LOSE THIS MEMORANDUM AND NOTICE OF TRIAL.
1. NON-JURY TRIAL --You are now scheduled for a non-jury trial before a County Judge.
2. TRIAL DATE - Do not forget your trial date. Failure to come to Court on the given date at the right time will mean you are the losing party and the other party wins.
3. EXCHANGE OF LISTS - If the Judge ordered you to submit any papers to the other party, such as witness lists and tangible evidence lists-- DO IT!. Failure to do this as directed by the Judge may cause Court sanctions against you such as imposing extra court costs holding you in contempt of Court, refusing to hear the testimony of your witnesses or receive your papers and other tangible items into evidence, or dismissal of your case.
4. COUNTERCLAIMS - If you are the Plaintiff (the one filing the lawsuit) and have been given a written notice that a Counterclaim has been filed against you in this lawsuit, this means that you are now being sued by the Defendant (the person you sued). Also, if at the Pretrial Conference, the Judge allowed the Defendant a certain number of days to file a counterclaim, the Defendant must file that Counterclaim within that number of days from the date of this Pretrial Order. If the Defendant does that, the Defendant has a claim now pending against the Plaintiff. If at the time of the Trial, the Counterclaim has been properly filed, there are two lawsuits for the Judge to consider, the Plaintiff suing the Defendant, and the Defendant suing the Plaintiff. In the event that both claims, the Plaintiff=s and the Defendant=s, are settled by the Plaintiff and Defendant, both Plaintiff and the Defendant should notify the Clerk of Court, Small Claims Division, IN WRITING. It is not necessary for the Plaintiff and Defendant to appear in Court when both Plaintiff and Defendant have filed this writing. Payment of one claim, either Plaintiff=s claim or Defendant=s claim, has no effect as to the other claim, and that other claim will proceed to hearing on the listed trial date.
5. TRIAL PREPARATION - Bring all witnesses and all documents and all other evidence you plan to use at trial. There is only one trial. Have everything ready and on time at the Court. If the Judge advised you at the Pretrial hearing that you needed something for trial, such as an expert witness (an automobile mechanic, automobile body repairman, a carpenter, a painter etc.) or a particular document, make sure that you have that necessary person or evidence at the trial. Witnesses may be subpoenaed by either the plaintiff or the defendant, or both. To have a AWitness Subpoena@ issued, you need to contact the Clerk=s Office. Written estimates of repairs are usually not acceptable in Small Claims Court unless both parties agree that the written estimates are proper for the Judge to consider, or unless the person who wrote the estimate is present to testify in person as to how he arrived at the amounts on the estimate and those amounts are reasonable in his particular line of business.
6. SETTLEMENT - If both parties agree on settlement before trial, the Plaintiff must notify the named Judge by telephone. Thereafter, the Plaintiff must in writing notify the Court of the settlement. The Court will then dismiss the case.
7. ADDRESS CHANGES - All changes in mailing addresses must be furnished in writing to the Court and to the opposing party.
8. COURT REPORTER - These non-jury trials are not automatically recorded. If you wish a record of the proceedings., a court reporter is necessary. If you wish to have a court reporter for your trial, it is your obligation to make the necessary arrangements. You may contact the Judicial Assistant of the Judge hearing your case for information about obtaining a court reporter.
If you are a person with a disability who needs any accommodation in order to participate in this proceeding, you are entitled, at no cost to you, to the provision of certain assistance. Please contact the Office of the Court Administrator, (941) 534-4690), within two (2) working days of your receipt of this document; if you are hearing or voice impaired, call TDD (941) 534-7777 or Florida Relay Service (800) 955-8770.