You may file a civil lawsuit in magistrates' court if you believe that you or your property have been injured or damaged and the amount of that injury is $7,500 or less. The filing fee is $80.00 for filing and service of process. There is an additional $10.00 charge for each additional defendant with a different address located in Charleston County. The complaint and attachments must be filed in duplicate. At least one party must be a Charleston County resident. Please provide the court with a clear and accurate legal name and street address for the defendant. Route and box numbers are not acceptable. If filing against a business, determine whether or not the business is incorporated or privately owned. If privately owned, list owners full legal name. If incorporated, provide the name and address of the registered agent. The Secretary of State may be contacted to obtain the agent’s name. If filing to collect on an account or note include duplicate copies of the statement of account, invoices, or note to verify the amount due and have your signature notarized.
The Small Claims Court will issue a summons when the complaint is filed and the summons requires the defendant to answer the complaint within thirty (30) days after the date of service. The defendant must answer in writing and a clerk is available at the Small Claims Office to assist a party if needed. If the defendant has a claim against the plaintiff arising from the same facts the defendant may file a counterclaim in writing with the court at the same time the answer is filed. If the defendant does not answer within thirty (30) days after service of the summons and complaint a judgment by default may be entered against the defendant. The Court will schedule a bench trial if the defendant files an answer. The parties must appear with any witnesses and evidence that are necessary to prove their cases. A WRITTEN, NOTARIZED, OUT OF COURT STATEMENT FROM A WITNESS CANNOT BE USED AS EVIDENCE. A WITNESS MUST APPEAR IN PERSON IN COURT TO TESTIFY. There is a charge of $ 8.00 per subpoena if issued by the court. The court does not provide a court reporter. You must make any appropriate arrangements.
Either party has the right to request a jury trial and it must be submitted in writing at least five (5) working days prior to the date of the hearing. A transcript of judgment will be issued with specific instructions about the enforcement of the judgment. It may be recorded immediately at the Clerk of Courts Office. The Execution Against Property Order may be filed with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office thirty (30) days after notice of judgment. The Sheriff's office will determine if there is property that can be seized and sold at public auction to pay this debt. The recorded judgment will remain valid and enforceable for a period of ten (10) years. When the judgment is satisfied the plaintiff must notify the Clerk of Courts Office so that the judgment may be removed.
A motion for a new trial must be received by this court in writing within five (5) days after notice of the judgment. An appeal must be filed in writing within thirty (30) days from the notice of judgment. There is a filing fee and it must be filed with the Court of Common Pleas. The notice of appeal must be personally served on this court and on the opposing party.
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North Charleston, SC 29413-0190
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