Small Claims Court
“My philosophy is simple. I take steps my competitors don’t to save my client’s time and money.”
Marshall Yarmus – Owner of Civil Litigations
Default judgment strategy example: It has always surprised me, in my years of experience, to see Defense counsel or the Defendant themselves, rush to the court to file a default judgment. They then spend time and money attempting to enforce it. However, if the Defendant wakes up and decides to file a defence, and the case has any merit whatsoever, the judge will almost always allow a motion to set-aside the default judgment and allow the Defendant to file their defence; essentially this re-sets the clock and the action starts over at the beginning. This is a giant waste of time and money for the Plaintiff.
It is my opinion and practice it is better to send a letter to the Defendant reminding them to file their defence, which they are legally obligated to do. I offer them an extension of a week or two to serve and file their defence. This courtesy expedites the court process and saves my client months of time and hundreds, and in some cases thousands of dollars.
Marshall Yarmus’ editorial in the Toronto Sun regarding Small Claims Court http://www.torontosun.com/2016/01/07/dos-and-donts-of-small-claims-court
“Small Claims Court Experts” Civil Litigations represents both Plaintiffs & Defendants: The monetary jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court is now $35,000.00. Plaintiff representation ranges from the initial drafting and filing of the claim, arranging for process serving (to avoid any disputes over service that can occur with service by other methods), to representation at settlement conference, trial, and judgment recovery. For Defendants a paralegal will draft defences, draft and serve Defendant’s Claims where appropriate, and represent at settlement conferences and trials.
Our firm successfully negotiates a settlement in more than 50% of our cases. If Civil Litigations is unable to settle the case and it goes on to trial, you can benefit from our experience; we are experts in preparing question preparation, and full trial preparation. We will advise you on the necessary witnesses and documents to be successful at trial.
Are you familiar with the Small Claims Court Rules? Civil Litigations is and can obtain for you the maximum cost award allowable at trial.
Small Claims Court Services since 1996
Our firm has provided full Small Claims Court services, including preparation of the following forms:
- Plaintiff’s Claim
- Affidavit for Jurisdiction
- Defendant’s Claim
- Affidavit of Service
- List of Proposed Witnesses
- Request to Clerk
- Default Judgment
- Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit
- Certificate of Judgment
- Notice of Examination
- Notice of Garnishment
- Notice of Garnishee Hearing
- Writ of Seizure and Sale of Lands
- Writ of Seizure and Sale of Personal Property
Civil Litigations represents you at all small claims court hearings including:
- Settlement Conferences
- Terms of Payment Hearings
- Assessment Hearings
- Jurisdiction Hearings
- Judgment Debtor Examinations
- Contempt Hearings
- Garnishee Hearings
Do you have a settlement conference scheduled? Do you think it is no big deal? Think again. At Civil Litigations your paralegal knows the importance of a settlement conference. It is the most important hearing in the Small Claims Court process.
Ten reasons why a settlement conference is the most important hearing in a small claims court case:
- You can request that a judge at a settlement conference make many different orders. A judge is permitted to make orders including: adding or deleting parties, staying the action, amending or striking out a claim or defense, staying or dismissing a claim, directing production of documents, changing the place of trial, directing an additional settlement conference, and ordering costs. (See Small Claims Court Rules 13.05(1)(2))
- The settlement conference is the place you and your legal representative can learn more about your opponent’s case. Discussions at a settlement conference usually include specifics of matters only touched upon in the pleadings. A good legal representative will use what they hear at a settlement conference to help them in trial preparation.
- Listen to the opposing side. Try to see the case from their point of view. A good legal representative tries to see the case from their opponent’s point of view. This helps them better assess the strengths and weaknesses of their client’s case.
- The judge at a settlement conference may make suggestions to both sides regarding what they can do to better prepare for trial. (See Small Claims Court Rule 13.03(1)(d))
- This is your chance early in a small claims court proceeding to try to settle the case, before you spend a lot of time and money preparing for trial.
- The settlement conference judge may give an opinion on who they think will be successful at trial, and why. Although, there will be a different judge if the matter proceeds to trial, it is valuable to hear a judge’s opinion.
- Can the settlement conference judge make a final and binding decision on who wins and loses without a formal trial? Yes – provided Small Claims Court Rule 13.05(4) applies. If the amount of the claim(s) is less than the appeal limit (currently $3,500.00), and prior to the commencement of the settlement conference all the parties sign a consent (form 13B) indicating they wish to obtain a final determination of the matter at the settlement conference if a mediated settlement cannot be reached.
- Most Defendants who settle the case pay the agreed upon settlement amount. In most cases where a judge decides a case at trial, the Defendant does not voluntarily make payment to the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff who wins at trial often has to spend more money and time trying to enforce their judgment. It has been said that sometimes the worst thing that can happen for a Plaintiff is they go to trial and obtain a judgment.
- You may win at trial. The opposing side may appeal. Although appeals of Small Claims Court decisions are not common, they do happen. An appeal is outside the jurisdiction of a paralegal and it can be very expensive to hire a lawyer to fight an appeal.
- Trials are very stressful. A good settlement allows both parties to walk away a little unhappy.
Here are the many different stages a small claims court action can take: