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 $6,000 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."
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.
Case evaluation is a form of alternative dispute resolution(ADR) used in civil cases. After a case is ordered by the Judge to case evaluation, the parties are given a notice appraising them of the time and date of the hearing, the location 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 court date. At case evaluation both parties give the panel background on the case and present their reasoning to support their claim. The goal of the evaluation is to hear all sides of a case by a neutral panel of litigators. After the hearing, the panel will make an evaluation and the attorneys for each party are notified of the evaluation award. The parties then can choose to accept or reject the award, and move forward with their case accordingly. Case evaluation takes place on Tuesday or Friday afternoons. Links to the docket can be found on the Daily Calendars page.
In small claims cases you can only sue for monetary damages (up to $6,000). 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
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"