FAQ - Small Claims
Who may file a Small Claim in Las Vegas Justice Court?
- The claim is for money only and does not exceed $10,000. If the claim is more than $10,000, you may wish to contact an attorney. If your claim is for more than $10,000, you cannot divide the claim by filing two or more separate actions. You may, however, decide not to pursue any amount over $10,000, and limit your possible recovery to a maximum of $10,000.
- You are 18 years old or older.
- The Defendant (person or business you want to sue) resides, works or lives within the City of Las Vegas or the unincorporated areas of Clark County, Nevada. If the Defendant’s address is “Las Vegas” it is typically within Las Vegas Justice Court’s jurisdiction.
* Please note: Many of the major cities within Clark County have Justice Courts. (i.e. Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, Moapa) You must use that Court’s forms and adhere to their filing rules.
What must I do prior to filing a Small Claims Complaint?
•Send a demand letter, using Certified, Return Receipt Requested by the US Postal Service (green post card), to the Defendant. The demand letter must instruct the Defendant to pay the amount due within 10 days of the date that the letter is sent, or the Plaintiff will file a Small Claims case against the Defendant.
•Wait at least 10 days from the date the demand letter is sent before filing a Small Claims case against the Defendant.
•Include a copy of the demand letter along with the signed return receipt (as proof of mailing) with the Small Claims Complaint when the Small Claims case is filed against the Defendant.
How do you name a defendant?
It is very important that you name the defendant or defendants correctly when you prepare your claim. Use these guidelines:
Know who the person is or business is that you want to sue.
• A physical address for the Defendant is needed. Post Office boxes cannot be “served” documents, so the Plaintiff will need to know where the person can be given the documents by a process server.
• If the Defendant is a business, the Plaintiff must investigate who is the proper person that accepts legal service for the business. This investigation typically includes checking:
o City of Las Vegas Business License Web Site to see who is the legal owner
o Clark County Business License Web Site if the City of Las Vegas site does not show the business
o Secretary of State of Nevada – Business Search Web Site to determine who and where corporations and limited liability corporations can be sent documents
How do I file for a fee waiver?
If the filing party cannot afford the filing fee, the filing party must also prepare a Fee Waiver Application (the formal title of the document is: Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis prior to arriving at the Clerk's Office. The Clerk's Office will receive the documents that the filing party wants to file and if the Fee Waiver is granted by a Judge, the documents will be filed. If the Fee Waiver is denied, the Clerk's Office will call the filing party to advise that they have 2 business days to pay the fee or the case will be closed.
Are Attorney Fees awarded in Small Claims?
Attorney Fees are not awarded in Small Claims. A party may elect to have an attorney but any fees are paid by the party engaging the attorney. Having an attorney does not preclude the party who has full authority to settle the case being present for mediation and hearings.
What are the filing fees?
The Filing Fee depends on the amount of money being sued for in the Small Claims Complaint
For lawsuits seeking recovery of $.00 to $1,000.00, the fee is:
For lawsuits seeking recovery of $1,000.01 to $2,500.00, the fee is:
For lawsuits seeking recovery of $2,500.01 to $5,000.00, the fee is:
For lawsuits seeking recovery of $5,000.01 to $7,500.00, the fee is:
For lawsuits seeking recovery of $7,500.01 to $10,000.00, the fee is:
What methods of payment do you accept?
Payment may be made by cash, VISA, MASTERCARD, ATM and Debit cards (will be processed as VISA or MASTERCARD credit cards), personal check, money order, or cashier's check. Personal and/or business checks must be pre-printed with the customer information of name and address. No filing will be accepted without the payment of the appropriate fee.
How do I file an answer?
All Small Claims cases require the Defendant(s), within 20 days of being served, to electronically file (E-File) the Small Claims Answer form with Las Vegas Justice Court Clerk’s Office and mail a copy by United States Postal Service mail, with first-class postage, to the Plaintiff(s).
What happens once I file an answer?
Once the Defendant files an Answer, the Court will automatically set the Small Claims Case to be heard by a Mediator or Referee. Some cases are automatically exempt from mandatory mediation (Claims involving contracts with Pay Day Loans or Credit Card Debt).
The Court will mail via US Mail a notice to appear to a hearing or mediation. Mediation notices include detail instructions for participants.
Hearings and Mediation are set within 14-45 days of the Answer being filed based on court availability.
You may electronically file your original Answer, for free, at the Justice Court Clerk's Office with this Court, or you may electronically file at: http://efilenv.com.
What happens if I fail to file an answer?
If the Defendant fails to E-File an Answer to the complaint within 20 days of being served, the Plaintiff may file additional documents to request a Default Judgment. The Judge may grant a Judgment for the Plaintiff without any hearings or verification that the Claim is valid.
Is there a fee if I want to amend my claim for a higher amount?
If the Plaintiff E-Files an Amended Complaint for a higher claim amount than their original claim, and the Amended Complaint amount would fall into a higher pricing tier, the Plaintiff will be charged the difference. For example, the initial claim was $500 and the fee paid $66.00. If an Amended Complaint is filed with a complaint amount of $1,500, (New claim fee is $86) an additional $20.00 fee will be collected when the Amended Complaint is filed.
I cannot afford an attorney to prepare a Motion to be heard by a Judge, is there any place I can get help?
If the party cannot afford legal representation, then they may prepare the motion (a document indicating what relief/issue that they want the judge to address) by themselves. The Motion to Place on Calendar can be down loaded from here. You may also find assistance at the Civil Law Self Help Center or Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.