Court Rules - Particular Civil Proceedings - Small Claims
III. PARTICULAR CIVIL PROCEEDINGS
ARTICLE 16: SMALL CLAIMS
16.01 FORM OF SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT
(a) An approved summons form provided by the Clerk of the Court, substantially in the form set forth in Supreme Court Rule 101(b), shall be served upon each defendant together with a copy of the complaint.
(b) The form of complaint to be used in small claims actions shall provide for a statement of claim setting forth the elements provided in Supreme Court Rule 282 on approved forms provided by the Clerk of the Court.
16.03 RETURN DAY PROCEDURES
(a) Failure of Defendant to Appear: If the defendant fails to appear as required by a duly served summons, the Court may enter judgment for the plaintiff upon a verified complaint or proof by affidavit or testimony upon an unverified complaint.
(b) Written Appearance by Defendant: If the defendant files a written appearance on or before the return date, unless the Court orders the filing of a written answer, the defendant's appearance shall stand as an answer denying the allegations of the complaint.
(c) Plaintiff's Failure to Appear: If the plaintiff fails to appear on the return date, the case will be dismissed for want of prosecution.
((d) The Clerk of the Court shall issue a diligence date for each case classified "SC" or "SR", for 9:00 a.m. seven months from the date of filing and shall notify the plaintiff of that date by affixing it on the complaint. The plaintiff must request the issuance of an alias summons and otherwise establish the exercise of diligence during the diligence period or the case may be dismissed pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 103(b). Except for good cause shown, no more than one diligence date will be given. Summons shall not issue for a return date beyond the diligence date set by a court, except with leave of court. Any summons issued beyond that date without leave of court shall be considered a nullity.
In the event plaintiff's counsel does not appear on a return date of an unserved summons issued with a future diligence date, the court shall take the matter off call. Plaintiff or plaintiff's counsel must appear on the return date of a served summons. Failure to do so may result in a dismissal for want of prosecution. (amended eff. 1/13/10)
(e) Continuances: Motions for continuances shall be governed in accord with Supreme Court Rule 231 and Local Rule 9.01.
(f) Case not Tried on the Return Date: Cases not tried or otherwise disposed of on the return date will be set for trial by order of the Court.
(g) Pre-Judgment Court Costs: Any litigant seeking court costs shall, at the time judgment is entered, tender an affidavit specifically and individually listing each and every cost incurred and the amount sought, together with a statement by affiant that these costs have been paid by affiant.
The Court will only take judicial notice of the filing fee and certified mail cost.
16.04 JURY DEMANDS
Supreme Court Rule 281, small claims actions in which a jury demand is filed, shall be subject to Mandatory Arbitration under Article 13 of these Rules. The judge to whom the case is assigned shall promptly assign an arbitration hearing date before a trial is scheduled.