Small Claims Court in St. Louis, MO
(Mediation services available for other surrounding counties as well)
St. Louis City and St. Louis County small claims courts deal with cases involving up to $5,000. In St. Louis City, MO and St. Louis County, MO small claims courts persons involved may represent themselves without an attorney. Court proceedings are conducted informally before a judge, without a jury. Small claims court can be an effective way to resolve a dispute. However, there can be issues with the process:
- Small claims court only involve claims for money and may not be used for the return of goods or property.
- Time allotted for the small claims court to hear your case is limited – you may only get five minutes to present your case.
- Small claims court is unpredictable. Some go to small claims with seemingly rock-solid cases and lose. Others have gone with shaky cases and win.
- You can be countered sued in small claims court. Anytime you take someone to court, there is a chance that you will be counter-sued.
- You will not be able to collect your money right away unless the defendant agrees to pay on the spot. You may need to obtain a writ of execution.
Mediation vs. Small Claims Court
- Economical Option: Does it make financial sense to use mediation vs. going to small claims court? In St. Louis City, MO the filing fee for small claims case is $80.50 plus $36 for sheriff’s service to the defendant. In St. Louis County, MO small claims court filing fee is $17 plus $36 for sheriff’s service. Metropolitan Mediation Services can provide mediation with a written agreement ready for signature at an extremely low cost. We use a sliding fee scale on gross income to determine your hourly rate. These low fees allow for substantial recovery of any financial award that a judge may have awarded you in small claims court.
- You Decide: You avoid the risk of “losing” in court or reaching an outcome that is not satisfactory.
- Customized Solutions: Even if you “win” your case, the court does not collect the money for you. A mediator will help you develop a clear payment plan. In addition, a mediated agreement can include other types of relief tailored to the needs of the parties. For example, the parties could agree in mediation to return a car, stop playing loud music, or repair a dented fender.
- Private: A court judgment may appear on your credit records. Mediation offers more privacy.
- Convenience: Small Claims Court assigns you a date and time to appear. You must wait your turn until your case can be tried. Metropolitan Mediation Services will schedule your mediation around the participant’s schedule – days, evenings, or weekends.
- A Trial Is Still an Option: If you are not able to reach an agreement through mediation, you may return to court. The Judge’s decision will not be influenced by what took place in mediation, as everything discussed in mediation is protected by rules of confidentiality.
Below is a video titled “Mediation Small Claims” it is a short summary of the benefits of mediation. We would like to thank Conflict Solutions Center of Santa Barbara, CA for allowing the use of the video.
If you are considering filing or have filed a small claims case or have been named as a plaintiff in St. Louis City, MO Small Claims Court or St. Louis County, MO Small Claims Court, we encourage you to contact Metropolitan Mediation Services to discuss your options. All consultations are free and confidential.
Should you have the need to file a small claims case before or after mediation we have provided a link to Missouri Small Claims Court Handbook that provides information on the small claims process: