How do I file a claim?
The person filing a claim in Magistrate Court is called the plaintiff. The person or business against whom the claim is brought is called the defendant.
The plaintiff must file a sworn statement with the clerk of the appropriate Magistrate court, describing the charges made by the plaintiff against the defendant. This statement is called a statement of claim or a claim. The statement of claim should include the following:
1. The complete name, address and phone number of the plaintiff (and his attorney, if he has one.)
2. The complete name and street address of the defendant.
3. The damages or the amount of money or property the plaintiff is seeking.
4. A brief statement explaining why the defendant is being sued
5. Copies of all relevant document, such as contracts, receipts and canceled checks. (Keep the original documents for your files.)
If the defendant is a person, the claim must be filed in the county where the defendant lives.
If the defendant is a corporation, the claim must be filed in the county of the registered agent for the company. Contact the Corporation Division of the Secretary of State at 229-391-3732 to find out whether a business is a corporation and, if so, the name and address of its registered agent.
If the defendant is an unincorporated business, the claim must be filed in the county where the business is physically located.
At the time of filing, the plainftiff must pay a filing fee, which includes the charge to serve one defendant. The current filing fee in Tift County for one individual is $105.00. Extra charges will be assessed for two individuals at the same address and/or for service for two defendants at a separate address.
The clerk of the magistate court can help the plainfiff complete the necessary forms but cannot give any legal advice, such as whom to sue or whether or not the plaintiff will win.
REMEMBER, the plaintiff must prove to the judge that he is entitled to receive compensation from the defendant.