The Judge’s decision in Small Claims Court is final and cannot be appealed

  If the following information does not answer your questions, you may call the
  Oregon State Bar tape library at 1-800-452-4776 (tape #1061). The website has several useful resources including Oregon Revised Statutes
  and Oregon Administrative Rules. The court clerk may answer questions
  about Small Claims filing procedures, but is prohibited from giving legal

Small Claims are filed to resolve disputes between parties without an attorney. Neither
party may be represented in Small Claims Court without special permission of the
Judge. The claim may be filed for any monetary amount or property value of $7,500.00
or less.

The party filing the claim is the plaintiff; the party being sued is the defendant. To
initiate (start) the case, the plaintiff must fill out the Claim and Notice of Claim form and
pay the required filing fee. The claim must be signed in the presence of the Trial Court
Administrator or a Notary Public.

Filing Fees:
Make your check or money order payable to STATE OF OREGON

Claim of       $0.00 to $1,500.00 ………………………….…$46.50
Claim of       $1,500.01 to $7,500.00 ……………….………$86.50

Filing in the proper County:
If you are able to answer “YES” to one of the following questions, you may file your
claim in Clackamas County.

       1. Does the defendant(s) live in Clackamas County?
       2. Did the incident happen in Clackamas County?
       3. When the claim is based on a contract, the defendant(s) must have
          contracted to perform an obligation under the contract in Clackamas County.

Who should you name as a defendant(s):
When filing a claim, it is necessary that the name of the defendant(s) be correct. You
must also provide an address for the defendant(s). Some possible ways to name the
Defendant(s) are:

       1.   As an individual (be sure of spelling);
       2.   As an individual, doing business as;
       3.   As an individual, formerly doing business as;
       4.   As an individual, individually and doing business as;
       5. As an individual, individually and formerly doing business as; and
       6. As a corporation. To serve the corporation, you must know the name of the
          Registered Agent for the corporation. You may be able to obtain this
          information from the Oregon Corporation Division in Salem at 503-986-2200

It is up to you to determine this information. The Court cannot do this for you.

Service of Claim and Notice of Claim:
The plaintiff must notify the defendant(s) that a case has been filed. This is known as
service. There are four options for service; personal, substituted, office or certified
mailing. Service can be made by the sheriff of the county where the defendant(s) can be
found; by any competent person 18 years of age or older who is a resident of the State
of Oregon and is not a party to the action nor an officer, director, employee of or
attorney for any party, corporate or otherwise; or by certified mail. If you chose to have
the sheriff serve and defendant(s) will be served outside of Clackamas County you will
need to contact the appropriate sheriff office in the area you wish to serve:

       1. Personal Service: Personal service may be made by delivery of a true copy
          of the Claim and Notice of Claim to the person you are serving.

       2. Substituted Service: Substitute service may be made by leaving a true copy
          of the Claim and Notice of Claim at the dwelling house or usual place of
          abode of the person to be served with any person over the age of 14 years
          who resides there. If substitute service is made, the plaintiff shall mail a true
          copy of the notice of claim to the defendant at his/her usual place of abode
          together with a written statement of the date, time and place at which
          substitute service was made. This is to be done by first class mail (not
          certified mail). An affidavit or certificate of mailing must then be submitted to
          the court showing the date that it was mailed.

       3. Office Service: If a defendant(s) maintains an office where she/he conducts
          business, office service may be made by delivering a true copy of the Claim
          and Notice of Claim to such office during normal working hours and leaving it
          with the person in charge. Plaintiff must then immediately mail a true copy of
          the Claim and Notice of Claim to the defendant at the home address together
          with a statement of the date, time and place at which office service was
          made. This is to be done by first class mail (not certified mail). An affidavit or
          certificate of mailing must then be submitted to the courts showing the date
          that it was mailed.

After the sheriff serves the papers, their office will notify you and the Trial Court
Administrator that service has been made. If service is made by other than the sheriff,
proof of service shall be made by filing a certificate with the Trial Court Administrator's
Office, pursuant to ORCP 7 F(2) (i). The original proof of service must be filed with
the court once you receive it for your case to proceed. If proof of service is not
received within 35 days of filing your claim, after written notice to you, the case
may be dismissed. If a dismissal for want of prosecution is entered you must re-
file and pay all applicable fees to pursue your case. In order to avoid your case
being dismissed, be prepared and evaluate the claim and research for valid
addresses prior to filing.

       4. Certified Mail: If service by certified mail is attempted, the plaintiff shall mail
          to each defendant, a true copy of the Claim and Notice of Claim by certified
          mail addressed to each defendant at the last known mailing address of
          defendant. The envelope shall be marked with the words "Deliver to
          Addressee Only" and "Return Receipt Requested." Check with the post office
          for the cost. Proof of service by certified mail needs to be filed in court by
          filing the proof of service including the original green card containing the
          defendant’s own legible signature, date of receipt and case number. If service
          by certified mail is not successfully accomplished, the notice and claim shall
          be served in the manner provided for the service of summons and complaint
          in proceedings in the circuit courts.

Service fee:
Make your check or money order payable to the server:
Clackamas County Sheriff’s fee for the first two parties served at the same location is
$28.00. For each single party served thereafter at the same location is an additional

After Service:
The defendant(s) has fourteen (14) days from personal service or seventeen (17) days
from the date of mailing following substitute or office service to do one of the following:

       1. Admit the claim and pay the plaintiff in full, including court costs (filing fee and
          service fee);
       2. Deny the claim and request a hearing;
       3. Deny the claim and request a hearing and file a counterclaim; or
       4. Demand a jury trial (on claims over $750.00 only)

Request for hearing: If the Defendant(s) request a hearing, you will be notified by mail
of the date and time to appear for that hearing. If you cannot appear at the time set,
you must specify a good reason in writing to the court at least seven (7) days prior to
the hearing date.

Request for hearing and file a counterclaim: The defendant in an action in the Small
Claims Department may assert as a counterclaim any claim that, on the date of
issuance of notice pursuant to ORS 46.445, the defendant may have against the plaintiff
and that arises out of the same transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of
the claim filed by the plaintiff.
Request for Jury Trial (If claim is over $750.00): If the defendant claims the right to a
jury trial, the clerk shall mail to the plaintiff a notice to file a formal complaint. The Court
does not supply forms or samples of formal complaints. You may wish to contact an
attorney or perform research at the law library for information on filing a formal

   (a) Within twenty (20) days after the mailing of the notice, the plaintiff must file the
       formal complaint with the court and serve by mail a summons and copy of the
       complaint on the defendant at the designated address of the defendant.
       Proof of service must be filed by the plaintiff with the court at the time of filing
       of the complaint. Proof of service may be made by filing a certificate of the
       plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney with the complaint.
   (b) The plaintiff's claim in the formal complaint filed pursuant to subsection (a)
       above is not limited to the amount stated in the claim filed in the small claims
       department, but the claim in the formal complaint must relate to the same
   (c) The defendant must file an appearance in the matter within ten (10) days
       after the date on which the summons and copy of the complaint would be
       delivered to the defendant in due course of mail. Thereafter the cause shall
       proceed as other causes in the Circuit Civil Court, and costs and
       disbursements shall be allowed and taxed.

Please be aware that further filing fees will be due upon filing the formal complaint and
the response to same.

Default Process:
The plaintiff in a small claims case may file a request for default judgment if the
defendant has not filed a response within fourteen (14) days from the date the claim
was personally served on the defendant or within seventeen (17) days after the date of
mailing required by substitute or office service.

After Judgment:
Once judgment is entered, it is enforceable for a period of ten (10) years. If you have
not collected within that time, the judgment may be extended for another ten (10) years
upon filing a Certificate of Extension with the Court prior to the judgment expiring.

Collection of Judgment:
The party to whom a judgment is awarded may be able to collect the judgment by using
one or all of the procedures below:

       1. Garnishing wages or a bank account (see Filing a Writ of Garnishment
          information sheet included in this instruction packet).
       2. Having the sheriff seize personal property.
      3. Placing a lien against defendant's real property. Small Claims judgments over
         $3,000.00 automatically become a lien against real property. If you wish your
         judgment to become a lien against real property and your judgment is under
         $3,000.00 you will need to request that the clerk note in the register of action
         and in the judgment lien record that the judgment creates a judgment lien by
         filing a request to transcribe judgment and file a certificate of lien in said
      4. Having the defendant's drivers license suspended. If a debtor fails to satisfy
         a small claims judgment for damages arising out of a motor vehicle accident
         within 60 days of judgment, the creditor can request in writing that the court
         send a certificate to the Driver and Motor Vehicles Division (DMV) stating that
         the judgment has not been satisfied. The DMV will then suspend the debtor’s
         license to drive until the court notifies them that the judgment has been
         settled or satisfied. The request must be in writing and must include the
         driver’s license number of the debtor.

THE COURT HOUSE! A fee is required for filing these procedures through the court.
Your attorney may be of assistance in helping you collect a judgment. If you do not
have an attorney you may call the Oregon State Bar Lawyer Referral Service at 503-

SATISFACTION OF JUDGMENT: When your judgment is paid in full, a Satisfaction of
Judgment form must be filed with the court. Satisfaction forms are available in the
Small Claims instruction packet.

** NOTE** PLAINTIFF: Upon filing your small claim case, please list on a separate
sheet of paper for the clerk any dates that you would be unavailable for a hearing
should the defendant file an answer to the claim requesting a hearing.

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