INFORMATION FOR CIVIL ACTIONS IN JUSTICE COURT
(Maricopa County, Arizona)


Jurisdictional Limits

The Justice Courts have exclusive jurisdiction, or the authority to hear, actions when the amount involved, exclusive of interest, costs and awarded attorney fees when authorized by law is $5,000 or less. Justice Courts have concurrent jurisdiction with the Superior Court in civil actions when the amount involved, exclusive of interest, costs and awarded attorney fees when authorized by law, is more than $5,000 and less than $9,999.99. Concurrent jurisdiction means that these cases can be filed in either court. Cases involving amounts greater than $9,999.99 must be filed in Superior Court. Court costs include, but are not limited to, filing and service fees.

Legal Documents

The court provides many standardized forms for your convenience and use. You can buy other forms not provided by the court or specialized legal documents. Refer to the Yellow Pages under Legal Forms. Some bookstores and stationary stores carry legal packets, which include all forms necessary to accomplish certain legal procedures.

THE COURT CLERK: The court clerks want to be helpful in serving the public, but remember the clerks are not attorneys and are not authorized or qualified to give legal advice. They can provide you with requested forms and respond to procedural questions.

It is not the clerks' responsibility to advise you if you have a legal claim. The clerk is not responsible for any error you may make in asserting or defending the claim.

The court does not take sides or render an opinion regarding the merits of a claim.

NOTICE TO PERSONS REPRESENTING THEMSELVES: A person acting on his or her own behalf is, under the law, held to the same standards and duties as an attorney admitted to the practice of law in the State of Arizona. Such person is expected to know what the law requires and how to accomplish his or her purposes in accordance with the applicable statutes and court rules. If you need advice, please see an attorney. If you do not have an attorney and do not know who to contact you can be referred to an attorney through:

MARICOPA COUNTY LAWYER REFERRAL SERVICE or the VOLUNTEER LAWYERS PROGRAM
Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM
(602) 257-4434

If you do not have the funds to pay for an attorney, you may seek assistance from the following:

COMMUNITY LEGAL SERVICE - PHOENIX
1818 S. 16th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 258-3434

The Arizona Revised Statutes and Arizona Rules of Court can be reviewed at
http://www.azleg.state.az.us/ArizonaRevisedStatutes.asp
at the Public Library or at the Maricopa County Superior Court Law Library located at:

PHOENIX      MESA
101 W. Jefferson      222 E. Javelina
Phoenix, AZ 85003      Mesa, AZ 85210


As you study and learn you will be better informed about the law, your rights, and local legal services available to you.

VISIT US AT OUR WEBSITE: http://www.maricopa.gov/justicecourts

Attorneys vs. Representing Yourself

In a regular civil proceeding either party may be represented by an attorney. The Rules of Civil Procedure for the Superior Court of Arizona are followed in Justice Courts. If you elect to represent yourself you have a responsibility to yourself and to the court to acquire a sufficient knowledge to complete the forms properly and to follow your action through to conclusion. Justice Court clerks are not attorneys and are not authorized to give legal advice. The clerk's responsibility is to take your court filing and to explain court processes and procedures.

Statutes of Limitations

Time limits in civil actions accrue from the date the events that gave rise to the action occurred. (Under some special circumstances, time limits can be extended or deferred. Please consult an attorney to determine if these circumstances apply to your case.) The time limits apply to both civil suits and small claims. Please note, this list is meant as a general guide. Not all of the cases listed below can be filed or heard in Justice Court.

Venue

The court in which an action is to be filed is determined by where the defendant resides or does business, if you are suing a business; or where the cause of action occurred.

If you file in the incorrect Justice Court, the opposing party may file a Motion for Change of Venue. If the court orders a change of venue, the case shall be transferred to the proper precinct and the plaintiff shall pay all fees. If you oppose a motion for change of venue you must file an objection in writing within five days after service of the motion. A motion alleging improper venue must be made before filing the ANSWER. If the defendant fails to file a timely request for a change of venue, that right is waived.

Parties

ONE SPOUSE CANNOT REPRESENT THE OTHER IN A CIVIL OR FORCIBLE DETAINER ACTION.

Pleadings

Pleadings are formal written statements by which parties assert their claims or defenses.

How to Compute Time Limits

When computing any period of time:

Fees

Civil Complaint and Summons$80.00
Answer to Civil Complaint$50.00
Small Claims Complaint$38.00
Small Claims Complaint -- defendant answer$28.00
Forcible Detainer Complaint$45.00
Forcible Detainer Complaint -- defendant answer$31.00
Order of ProtectionNo Charge
Injunction Against HarassmentNo Charge
Writ of Garnishment$29.00
Writ of Restitution (includes minimum mileage)$103.00
Writ of Execution (includes minimum mileage)$101.00
Judgment Debtors Exam Issue Fee$24.00
Filing any paper or performing any act for which a fee is not specifically prescribed$24.00
Certification of any documents$24.00
Notice of Appeal Filing Fee (Certification, transmittal, audio record)$72.00
Copies of documents$0.50 per page


Service of Summons and Complaint

In addition to any other available methods, service of the summons and complaint shall be by a private process server [Rule 4(c) R.C.P.]. The Complaint/Summons Form is available on the website. You designate the server you wish to employ to perform the service for you.

Dismissal

The plaintiff may dismiss the claim at any time prior to the defendant filing an answer or other responsive pleading. Once the defendant has filed an answer or other responsive pleading, both parties must stipulate, or agree, in writing to a dismissal. The defendant may ask the court for reimbursement of court costs and/or attorney fees incurred defending the action.

Filing an Answer

An answer is the defendant's response to the plaintiff's allegations as stated in a complaint. The Answer Form is available on the website.

Filing a Counterclaim

Default Judgments

Service after Appearance

Disclosure

Disclosure is the pretrial process through which each party discloses to the other the evidence and witness testimony that will be presented in trial.

Motions

OR

Pretrial Conference

A pretrial conference may be held to clarify the issues for trial, and exchange information to allow the parties to meet and possibly reach a settlement.

Preparing for Trial

Failures to Appear

Jury Trials

Basic Trial Procedure

Appeals

If you are not satisfied with the trial decision, you may file an Appeal to the Superior Court. The appeal must be filed within ten (10) judicial days of the entry of judgment and must be accompanied by:

If You are Awarded Judgment

The plaintiff may be awarded a judgment on the claim against the defendant or the defendant may be awarded a judgment on a counterclaim (if one was filed) against the plaintiff. The party awarded judgment is known as the Judgment Creditor and the party whom the judgment is against is known as the Judgment Debtor.

Collecting the Judgment

To obtain information about the Judgment Debtor's employment, bank accounts or other assets you may ask the Court for an order for a debtor's examination. Additional fees and costs are required for issuing and serving an order for a debtor's examination (called an Order for Supplemental Proceedings). Court clerks can provide you with the necessary writ forms. Additional fees and costs are required for issuing and serving Writs of Garnishment and Writs of Execution. When you are paid in full you must file a SATISFACTION OF JUDGMENT with the court.
This form is available from the court.


 
PLAINTIFF'S CHECKLIST

                    DATE COMPLAINT FILED
                    DATE OF SERVICE

IF SERVICE IS BY MAIL:

                    DATE & TIME TO ANSWER HAS EXPIRED (20 days from date return receipt is signed by defendant. If there is no date, or if the date is illegible the time to answer is 20 days from the date the return receipt is filed with the court)
                    DATE RETURN RECEIPT FILED WITH THE COURT. (You may file your return receipt with the court in person or by first class mail).

IF SERVICE IS BY A PROCESS SERVER:

                    DATE TIME TO ANSWER HAS EXPIRED (20 days from date of service by process server)
                    DATE ANSWER IS FILED WITH THE COURT
                    DATE MEDIATION IS SET
                    DATE TRIAL IS SET

IF DEFENDANT DEFAULTS IN ANSWERING THE COMPLAINT:

                    DATE AFFIDAVIT AND APPLICATION FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT FILED WITH THE COURT. (The day following the date time to answer has expired, above)
                    DATE ENTRY OF DEFAULT TAKE EFFECT. (Ten judicial days after a copy of the APPLICATION FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT has been mailed to the defendant(s) claimed to be in default).
                    DATE OF JUDGMENT


DEFENDANT'S CHECKLIST

                    DATE COMPLAINT RECEIVED
                    DATE ANSWER FILED (within 20 days of receipt of complaint)

IF COUNTERCLAIM IS FILED:
                    DATE FILED
                    DATE MAILED TO PLAINTIFF
                    DATE REPLY TO COUNTERCLAIM IS FILED WITH THE COURT
                    DATE MEDIATION IS SET
                    DATE TRIAL IS SET
                    TIME TO REPLY TO COUNTERCLAIM EXPIRES (20 days from date mailed)

IF PLAINTIFF DEFAULTS IN REPLYING TO THE COUNTERCLAIM:

                    DATE AFFIDAVIT AND APPLICATION FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT FILED WITH THE COURT. (The day following the date time to reply has expired, above)
                    DATE ENTRY OF DEFAULT TAKES EFFECT. (Ten judicial days after a copy of the APPLICATION FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT has been mailed to the plaintiff(s) claimed to be in default)
                    DATE OF JUDGMENT



HOW TO DESIGNATE DEFENDANT(S)

INDIVIDUAL:
John Jones
1234 S. Main Street
Mesa, AZ 85201

PARENTS OF A MINOR:
John and Mary Jones, husband and wife
Parents of Johnny Jones, a minor
1234 S. Main Street
Mesa, AZ 85201

CORPORATION:
ABC Candy Store, Inc.
1234 S. Main Street
Mesa, AZ 85201
SERVE: John Jones, Statutory Agent
5678 N. Notsoezee St.
Mesa, AZ 85201
(Service may also be effected upon an officer of the corporation President, Vice-President, Secretary,Treasurer)

SOLE OWNERSHIP:
John Jones, dba
Jones' Delicious Candy Shoppe
1234 S. Main Street
Mesa, AZ 85201

HUSBAND AND WIFE:
John and Mary Jones, husband and wife John and Mary Jones, husband and wife
1234 S. Main Street 1234 S. Main Street
Mesa, AZ 85201 Mesa, AZ 85201
SERVE: John Jones SERVE: Mary Jones

TWO OR MORE DEFENDANTS:
JOHN SMITH MARY JONES
1234 S. Main Street 1000 E. First Street
Mesa, AZ 85201 Mesa, AZ 85201

PARTNERSHIP:
JOHN SMITH and JOE JONES, Partners John Smith and Joe Jones, Partners
Dba JJ's Cafe Dba JJ's Cafe
1000 E. First Street 1000 E. First Street
Mesa, AZ 85201 Mesa, AZ 85201
SERVE: John Smith SERVE: Joe Jones

WHEN THE NAME OF THE DEFENDANT IS UNKNOWN:
JOHN DOE Schwarzenegger Matilda DOE
1000 E. First Street JANE DOE Taylor
Mesa, AZ 85201 XYZ Corporation
When the defendant's true name is discovered, the pleadings may be amended to reflect the true name.


Adapted from information handed out to parties to actions at South Mesa/Gilbert Justice Court
www.justicecourts.maricopa.gov