Small Claims

If you can not resolve your issue with the other party outside of the Legal Justice System or mediation, you might want to file the matter in Small Claims Court.

Small Claims Court is often referred to as the “People’s Court”. This is due to the fact that most people bring claims to this forum without hiring an attorney and it is much less expensive and very much less informal than regular Civil Court.

The Small Claim sessions allow people to sue or be sued without having to be represented by an attorney. The sessions do not follow the Rules of Civil Procedure or the Rules of Evidence as do other courts such as the District, Superior, Probate and Family or Housing courts. People can present their own evidence and speak in regular layman fashion. If you bring a matter to Small Claims Court, you cannot then file it in another court once the matter has resulted in a judgment of some type.

If you file the matter in Small Claims Court, you waive your right to a jury trial. The matter will usually be heard in front of a Clerk Magistrate. If you are the defendant and do not get the result you wanted, you can appeal the decision to a higher court. If you are the plaintiff, you usually cannot appeal the decision.

Claims of $7000 or less may be brought to Small Claims Courts in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts unless it involves property damage as a result of an automobile accident.

In other matters, such as consumer protection cases (93A cases) or cases involving Landlord/Tenant matters, there may be statutory damages and/or attorney’s fees that might exceed the $7000 limit when added to the original claim. Remember though, the damage amount originally claimed, cannot exceed the limit of $7000.

Filing Fees

Filing fees for Small Claims Courts as follows;

  • Claims of $500 or under is $40.
  • Claims of $501 to $2000 is $50.
  • Claims of $2001 to $5000 is $100.
  • Claims of $5001 to $7000 is $150.
  • Claims for property damage arising from an automobile accident in excess of $7000 is $150.

Where can you file a Small Claims matter? You can file the claim in any District Court, Boston Housing Court or the Boston Municipal Court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

To file a suit in Small Claims Court, you must complete a Statement of Claim and Notice that you may obtain at the Small Claims Clerk in any of the above-mentioned courts.

Be aware that the courts are often back-logged with cases, and getting a quick court date is usually hard to do. Most cases are scheduled out 6 months or more.

Attorney James J. Hoffey is well experienced in small claims and can assure you will get the best outcome possible outcome in your situation. Contact Hoffey Law Office in Brookfield, Massachusetts at (508) 867-2649 or for a

From Our Clients

Attorney James J. Hoffey represented me in a 93A legal dispute with a contractor. After working diligently on trying to resolve the matter amicably, Attorney Hoffey proceeded with filing a suit which resulted in judgment against the contractor. I was able to recoup all of my money thanks to the […]

Continue Reading » - D.B., Winchester, MA, for Contractor Dispute/93A claim View All Testimonials »

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