How to File in Small Claims Court in Memphis, Tennessee

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Small claims court in Memphis, Tennessee is also called the Shelby County General Sessions Court, Civil Division, Memphis, Main Office. To file a case in Shelby County Sessions Civil, fill in the form Statement of Claim, give it to the clerk and pay the filing fee.

Small Claims Court Memphis Tn

Don't be worried if you can't find a small claims court listed for Memphis, Tennessee. In Tennessee, the small claims court is called General Sessions Civil Division, and the courts are organized by county, not city. You'll find what you are looking for under Shelby County Sessions Civil Division, Memphis, Main Office.

Shelby County has some other differences compared to small claims courts in other states. First, you can sue for up to $25,000, much higher than many states' limits. Second, unlike many states, attorneys are allowed to appear and present a case for a small claims party in Memphis. And if attorney fees are part of the contract you are suing on, you can claim them in your case.

How to File in Shelby County Civil Court, Small Claims

Anyone 19 years or older can start a case in Shelby County Civil, Memphis, by obtaining a form called Statement of Claim. You are the plaintiff, and the person you are suing is the defendant. Insert both of your names and addresses. You'll need a separate form for each defendant.

You must also fill in a statement regarding how much money the defendant owes you. Then, state any costs or attorney fees owed to you.

After that, you or your attorney sign and date the statement. Give it to the court clerk at Shelby County Civil Court in Memphis, and pay the filing fee. The filing fee depends on how much you are claiming, how many defendants you are suing and if you want other services, such as a writ of garnishment, service by certified mail (if the defendant's address is a P.O. Box or out of stat ) or subpoenas.

Next Steps in Memphis Civil Court Small Claims

Once you file your statement in Memphis, the clerk stamps it with a case number and sends it to the sheriff for personal service or out for service by certified mail. The defendant has 14 days after service (after he gets the copy of the statement) to file a response. If he does, the court assigns a hearing date, and all parties appear with their evidence and witnesses.

The hearing before the court is informal. After hearing all the evidence, the court makes a decision. You get a copy in the mail, and either party can appeal.

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About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.