Small Claims are disputes involving money damages where the amount at issue does not exceed $8000.00 excluding costs, interest and attorneys' fees.

Examples include:

  • Contract disputes
  • Property damage
  • Debt collection

You can represent yourself or seek assistance of an attorney.

Considerations Before Filing

When deciding whether or not you should file a lawsuit, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have I tried all possible and/or reasonable means to reach a settlement?
  • Do I have, or am I able to obtain, the necessary evidence to prove my claim?
  • Do I know the correct legal name and address of the defendant?

Party Information You Will Need

Suing an Individual:

  • The exact name and address of the person/persons to be sued

Suing a Corporation/Business:

  • The exact name of the corporation as is on file with the Division of Corporation in Tallahassee (SunBiz)
  • The name of the Registered Agent and the address where the registered agent may be served

Suing a Partnership or an Entity Operating with a Fictitious Name:

  • The name and address of the person or entity doing business as a fictitious name (DBA). You can not sue a fictitious name.
  • If a partnership, the name and address of all partners

Visit the Division of Corporate Information's online information center or call 1-850-488-9000 to locate business and fictitious name information.

Claims on an Insurance Company

  • You must provide the address of the home office for the insurance company
  • All claims filed against an insurance company are served through the Insurance Commissioner for the State of Florida
    • Example of how defendant should be listed on both the Statement of Claim and Summons forms: ABC Insurance Company, 333 Main Street, Any Town, USA 12345, by serving Insurance Commissioner, State of Florida.
  • All documents that will be used to substantiate your claim should be included with your filing. The Clerk's office requires one copy and the Insurance Company requires three copies, making a total of four copies. If the Clerk's office is asked to make copies, the charge is $1.00 per page.
  • The fee for service by the Insurance Commissioner is $15, made payable to Insurance Commissioner, State of Florida, by cashier's check or money order only.

Where to File

You can file your documentation in any of the following ways:

Important Notes:

  • Provide documents relevant to your suit, such as contracts, invoices, bills, and/or receipts
  • Include one copy for the court file and one copy per defendant
  • Original documents should be presented at the hearing

When Filing in Person

  • Provide the required and completed forms
    • Include supplementals and/or supporting documentation for your claim
  • Pay the filing fee or apply for indigency (waiver)
  • Provide service to the other party (defendant)

When Filing Electronically

  • Complete the require forms
    • Include supplementals and/or supporting documentation for your claim
  • Pay the filing fee or apply for indigency (waiver)
  • Review your claim online for service issuance
  • Print and forward the issued summons for service to the other party (defendant) - See Methods of Service below

Once the case has been eFiled, and the clerk has issued the summons, you will receive an email from with the issued summons(es) only. The email signature will contain instructions for next steps. See example.

Methods of Service

Certified Mail

  • Available for Florida addresses only
  • Must be sent by the Clerk
  • Applicable fees apply

Lee County Sheriff

  • 2072 Victoria Ave., Fort Myers | 239-477-1353
  • Service fee of $40 per defendant
  • Check made payable to the Lee County Sheriff's Office

Process Servers

Out of County/State Service

You will need to contact the county where the defendant resides to obtain the following information:

  • The law enforcement agency that serves summonses
  • The cost associated with serving each summons
  • Acceptable forms of payment
  • The agency's mailing address

Once you have obtained this information:

  • Complete the forms and return to the Clerk's office, along with the filing and service fees

The case has been opened. What happens next?

Once the case is opened, the Clerk will issue a Pretrial Mediation hearing date:

  • Cases are currently held remotely via Zoom
  • Attendance is mandatory
  • At this time, both parties can decide to come to a resolution
  • If there is no resolution, judge will decide next steps

I won my case. How do I collect my money?

You are responsible for collecting your judgment. Review the Method of Collection Information Sheet for complete details of the process.

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