In St. Louis, the Small Claims Division handles cases with $5,000 or less at stake. You're eligible to file if you're personally owed money or if you're a business that is owed money. However, if you merely purchased the right to collect on a claim, you can't sue in small claims court. You can be represented by an attorney in small claims court, but court clerks are available to assist you in filling out the required forms and pleadings. The requirements and process are the same throughout the state, but the fees differ by local jurisdiction.
Missouri provides the information required to proceed with the case in its Small Claims Pamphlet. You must use the correct legal name of the individual or company you're suing, or your petition may be thrown out of court. If your complaint is against a business, the secretary of state can provide the correct legal name for you, but there may be a fee for this service. To sue a partnership, find out who the partners are and sue and serve each one of them with the documents individually.
Complete the Petition
To file your claim, fill out form SC 40 Petition Small Claims Court. It's the form used throughout the state, so note on the top line that this is for the circuit court of St. Louis County. You'll put your name and contact information in the plaintiffs section and include the name and contact information for the defendant. In the section that follows, state the amount of the claim, the date the claim arose and a description of the events that resulted in the dispute. Certify that you're telling the truth to the best of your knowledge, that you won't seek another action that involves the same incident and that you're waiving the right to a jury trial. Submit four copies of the form to the court.
If you're representing a minor, fill out SC 50 Petition for a Minor -- Small Claims Court. This requests the court appoint you as the "next friend" -- a recognized individual that agrees to act in the minor's best interest and to assist her in filing the case.
St. Louis City
File small claims petitions with the circuit court, located on the first floor of the civil courts building. You also may be able to file the petitions electronically through your attorney, if you have one. To file a small claims suit in the city of St. Louis, the fees as of this publication are:
- Filing fee: $80
- Sheriff's service fee for each defendant: $36
- Certified mail service for each defendant: $10.04
Small claims courts fall under the auspices of the Missouri circuit courts. To file a suit outside of St. Louis County, check the circuit court information for that area to learn the location of the local small claims court.
St. Louis County
In St. Louis County, small claims cases must be filed in person, unless you live out of state.The St. Louis County filing location is located at 7900 Carondelet, Clayton, Missouri. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
As of this publication, the fees for St. Louis County small claims court are:
- Filing fee: $17
- Cost of serving the summons: $36
- Service by certified mail, restricted delivery: $10
Bring one check that covers all the associated fees, made out to the St. Louis County Circuit Court.