The purpose of the Small Claims Department is to decide certain civil disputes promptly and economically. All claims of $750 or less must be filed as a small claims matter with the Court. Claims between $750 and $10000 may be filed in the Small Claims Department. There is a fee associated with the filing of a Small Claim. An Instruction Sheet is available in Room 106 of the Benton County Courthouse or is available through the link below.
The hearings for Small Claim matters are informal in that no attorney is present. You present your own evidence and the other party has an opportunity to present their evidence. The Judge will listen to the argument and make a decision. A money judgment or other type of judgment may be part of the decision. There is no appeal from the Judge’s decision in a Small Claim matter.
THE COURT WILL NOT ACCEPT PAYMENT OF ANY CLAIM, IT MUST BE PAID DIRECTLY TO THE PLAINTIFF. IT IS UP TO THE INDIVIDUAL WHO WAS AWARDED THE JUDGMENT TO SEE THAT THE JUDGMENT IS SATISFIED. WHENEVER THE JUDGMENT IS SATISFIED, IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE JUDGMENT HOLDER TO NOTIFY THE COURT, IN WRITING OF THE SATISFACTION.
If you are served with a notice of a Small Claims action against you, you can request a Jury Trial. HOWEVER, by Law, where a Jury Trial has been requested for a Small Claims matter, prior to the trial, the matter MUST go to Arbitration. There is a fee of $250 to be paid by the Plaintiff, and $250 to be paid by the Defendant before the matter can go to Arbitration. At Arbitration, the Arbitrator will hear argument from each party and make a decision. Either party can appeal the Arbitration award and proceed to a Jury Trial.