INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING THE STATEMENT
OF SMALL CLAIM AND NOTICE OF TRIAL FORM
This form is used to file a small claim. Please complete
Parts 1-6 on the front of the form.
Check the box titled "District Court" and enter the
District Court in which you will file your claim. You may bring
a small claim only in the court for the area where either the plaintiff
or the defendant lives or has a place of business or employment.
A small claim against a landlord arising from the rental of an
apartment may also be brought where the apartment is located. You
may find it easier to enforce a decision in your favor if you bring
your small claim where the defendant lives or works, but you are
not required to do so. The Clerk-Magistrate's office can tell you
which court serves an area and the fee you must pay to file your
You, the person filing the claim, are the plaintiff.
Enter all requested information. Be sure to include a daytime phone
number in case the court needs to reach you. If you are represented
by an attorney, please provide that information on the form and
include the attorney's phone number.
The defendant is the person or entity being sued.
It is important from a legal point of view that you properly name
and categorize the defendant in the case. A defendant can be:
(use the proper names, do not use nicknames)
Sample: Robert Jones - not "Bob" Jones;
||an individual doing business under a trade name (d/b/a)
Sample: Robert Jones d/b/a Acme Building Co.;
||a corporation (Corp. or Inc.)
Sample: Jones Electric Co., Inc. or Jones Electric
If the defendant is a corporation, be sure to indicate
that on the form. Under the law, a corporation is an entity that
can sue or be sued.
To find out whether a business is a corporation and/or
the proper name of the corporation, call the Corporate Records
Division of the Office of the Secretary of State at (617) 727-2800
or visit their website at http://corp.sec.state.ma.us/corp/corpsearch/corpsearchinput.asp. If
you call be sure to get the names and addresses of the officers
of the corporation. (You may need this information later if you
prevail in your case.) Remember, however, that you are suing the
corporation not the officer(s), although the officers personally
would be summoned to court if you prevail against the corporation
and payment is not made.
If the defendant is not a corporation and is doing
business under a trade name (d/b/a) you can verify that by calling
the city or town hall where the business is located. Any entity
that does business under a trade name other than his or her own
is required to register in the local city or town clerk's office
where the business is located.
If the defendant is a trust, list the title of the
trust and the name, address and telephone number of the principal
You must insert the amount that you claim that you
are owed by the defendant. Court costs are the filing fee paid
to this court. The filing fee for small claims $500 and under is
$40. The filing fee for claims of $501 to $2000 is $50. The filing fee for claims of $2001 to $5000 is $100. The filing fee for claims of $5001 to $7000 is $150. The filing fee for claims of property damage of more than $7000 arising from an automobile accident is $150. You will pay the filing fee to the court when you file your Small Claim.
Unless your suit is based upon property damage sustained
in an automobile accident, it cannot exceed $7,000.00. The claim
may, however, be subject to statutory damages in excess of $7,000.00
(i.e. Consumer Protection cases or certain landlord/tenant cases).
In those cases, the base amount may not exceed $7,000.00 even though
the potential award may exceed that amount. You should be sure
to include in this section that you are seeking double or treble
damages and costs pursuant to the specific statute.
In as much detail as possible, describe what you
are suing the defendant for. Use exact dates whenever possible.
(Suggestion: write your claim out on a piece of scrap paper before
typing it on the claim.)
Mediation is available in many courts on the date
of trial. When the case is called and if mediation is available,
you will be asked if you would like to mediate your claim. If you
want to avail yourself of mediation simply respond in the affirmative,
agree to mediation. Remember, you do not lose your right to a trial
if you submit to mediation and it is unsuccessful.
If you are suing an individual, you are required
to attest under the pains and penalties of perjury, the defendant's
Once you have filed your claim you will be assigned
a date of trial. Cases will be tried by the Clerk Magistrate and
Assistant Clerk Magistrate of the Court.
If you will be submitting documents or other exhibits
at trial make sure that you have two extra sets, one for the Magistrate
and one for the defendant.
Return the completed form, with all parts intact,
together with a check or money order (made payable to "Clerk-Magistrate")
for the filing fee. You may bring or mail the completed form and
filing fee to the Clerk-Magistrate's office of the court where
you are filing your case.