Please Note: By law, court personnel are barred from giving legal advice.
Civil cases are court proceedings designed to work out a dispute between two or more people, businesses, or organizations. In a civil case, the plaintiff files a case seeking monetary damages, injunctions, or equitable relief. The person, business, or organization who is being sued is the defendant.
Responsibilities of the Civil Division:
- processing general civil actions where the amount in dispute is $25,000 or less
- small claims matters where the amount in dispute is $6,500 or less
- landlord-tenant matters
The 15th Judicial District Court will handle the case if the amount of the claim is $25,000 or less and the defendant resides or does business in the City of Ann Arbor, or the incident from which the case arose occurred within the City of Ann Arbor.
General Filing Information:
Cases can be filed weekdays, during court hours, in the 15th Judicial District Court Clerk's office on the fourth floor of the Ann Arbor Justice Center, room 431
Civil filing fees vary with the amount of the claim
Civil filing fees can be paid by cash, personal check (no starter checks), certified check, money order, Visa, MasterCard, Mcard or Discover. Checks should be made payable to "15th District Court."
All adjourment requests, including those for motions, must be submitted in writing in the form of a stipulated order. If parties do not stipulate, a motion to adjourn may be filed.
As of October 04, 2010, should you submit a document or documents that you wish to have returned to you by mail, you must provide to the Court a self-addressed, stamped envelope of sufficient size. Any documents for return submitted without the required return envelope will be available for pick-up during normal business hours.
Notice Regarding Check Payments: All checks are approved for acceptance and cleared electronically by Telecheck check verification service upon presentation to the Court.
How to Use Small Claims Court
Civil Fee Schedule
Interest Rates for Money Judgments
General civil cases are disputes involving amounts of $25,000 or less. In general civil cases all parties involved in the case have the right to an attorney, the right to a trial, and the right to appeal the decision of the court.
Effective May 1, 2019
Rule 2.508 Jury Trial of Right
- Demand for Jury.
(1) A party may demand a trial by jury of an issue as to which there is a right to trial by jury by filing a written demand for a jury trial within 28 days after the filing of the answer or a timely reply. The demand for jury must be filed as a separate document. A party may include the demand in a pleading if notice of the demand is included in the caption of the pleading. The jury fee provided by law must be paid at the time the demand is filed.
Case evaluation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) used in civil cases. Parties may agree to case evaluation by submitting a stipulation and proposed Order to the Court. The Stipulated Order must be submitted prior to the Status Conference date and time. Once the Stipluted Order has been processed by the Court Clerk's Office, the parties will be sent a notice apprising them of the time, date and location of the hearing, and the names of the case evaluators. Case Evaluation panels consist of three approved attorneys who conduct the evaluations. Each party submits a case evaluation brief or summary and supporting documentation which is reviewed by the evaluators prior to the case evaluation hearing date. At case evaluation, parties may provide the panel with additional background on the case and present their reasoning to support their claim. After the hearing, the panel will make a determination and the attorneys for each party are notified of the evaluation award. The parties can then choose to accept or reject the award, and move forward with their case accordingly. Case evaluation takes place on Tuesday afternoons. A link to the docket can be found on the Daily Calendars page.
- For future dates: Summaries and checks need to have the correct case number(s) marked upon them. Items can be submitted by drop box, mail or email.
- Email address: [email protected]. One case summary per email. In the subject line include the case number. Please note file size is limited to 25 MB per email. If more than one email per case is necessary, include a note in the subject line, e.g. "email 1 of 2".
- Summaries received after 4:30 PM, whether in-person, by mail or email will be marked received on next business day.
- Any questions regarding this process should be emailed to the ADR Clerk at [email protected].
Notices Regarding Case Evaluation:
- Tax I.D. Requirements
Certain parties' representatives (principally insurance companies) request Tax I.D. or Social Security Numbers to issue payment to evaluators. The court administration office does not want to keep Social Security Numbers on file. Thus, each evaluator is responsible for providing the requested information directly to the representaive; failure to do so may result in nonpayment. The Court will not be responsible for collecting payments under these circumstances.
- Presentation of Summaries and Payment
It is a party's/attorney's responsibility to file all case evaluation summaries and check payments for evaluators with the Court. If a party/attorney sends e-mails, faxes, hard copy summaries or payments directly to panel members, the evaluators should redirect the party/attorney to the Court. A party's/attorney's failure to file a case evaluation summary timely with the Court may result in financial penalties and/or the summary not being reviewed by the evaluators. A party's/attorney's failure to submit the check payments for the evaluators directly to the Court may result in a show cause hearing being set for nonpayment of evaluator fees.
In small claims cases you can only sue for monetary damages (up to $6,500). In small claims cases neither party is represented by an attorney and there is no right to a jury trial. The parties do have the right to appeal the decision of the court if the case is heard by a magistrate. However, there is no right to appeal if the case is heard by a district court judge. If either party does not want the case heard in small claims court then that party has the right to request that the case be moved to the general civil docket.
When appearing in small claims court parties should bring any documentation, or other evidence that supports their side of the case. It is also advisable to make a list of the items you intend to cover so that you are prepared to present your argument to the magistrate or judge.
How to Use Small Claims Court
Collecting Money from a Small Claims Judgment
Michigan State Court Administrative Office Small Claims Forms
Links to resources that may be helpful in determining jurisdiction for new filings:
Find My Clerk
City of Ann Arbor Address Search
Landlord-tenant cases arise when a landlord seeks to regain possession of the premises from a tenant with an initial notice for one of the following reasons:
- Non-payment of Rent
- Termination of Tenancy
- Any other type of notice permitted by law
If a landlord serves a tenant with a "Demand for Possession Non-payment of Rent" notice then the tenant has seven (7) days to pay or move out.
If a landlord serves a tenant with a "Termination of Tenancy" notice then the tenant has time equal to the payment schedule determined in the rental agreement to move out. If there is no rental agreement then the "Termination of Tenancy" notice is a thirty (30) day notice.
Court hearing dates are generally scheduled within fourteen (14) days from the filing date of the complaint as required by court rules.
How to File Landlord-Tenant or Land Contract Cases
The Michigan Legislature's website has helpful information for Tenants and Landlords. To view their publication: Click on the link below; wait while a new window opens; scroll down to the General Interest Publications section; and then locate and click on Tenants and Landlords.
Michigan Legislature's "A Practical Guide for Tenants and Landlords"