The Small Claims Department of Okanogan County District Court can be used for the recovery of money only where the amount claimed does not exceed $10,000.00 in cases brought by a natural person. The amount claimed cannot exceed $5,000.00 in all other cases.
Frequently Asked Questions
At the time of filing you must pay a fee (refer to the Fee Schedule). You are then given a trial date, furnished a copy of your Claim form for your records, and given a copy of the Claim form to be served upon the defendant. It is the responsibility of the plaintiff to accurately identify the defendant (either as an individual, a corporation, or as one or the other doing business under an assumed name) and designate the proper address of the defendant and, if possible, his or her telephone number. It is also the responsibility of the plaintiff to see that the Claim form is served upon the defendant. The defendant may counterclaim against the plaintiff for any money he believes the plaintiff owes him, but this must be done immediately upon receipt of the claim of the plaintiff. The counterclaim filing fee (refer to the Fee Schedule).
- The Sheriffs Office;
- A process server;
- Any person of legal age (18) who is not connected with the case either as a witness or as a party;
- By mailing the copies to the defendant by registered or certified mail with a return receipt restricted request.
With mail service, you must file the postal receipt bearing the defendant's signature with the court.
The Notice of Claim must be served at least 10 days prior to the trial date. You cannot personally serve the copies of your Claim form. After service (other than mail service) is completed, an affidavit of service must be signed by the server and filed with the court. An affidavit of service states in writing the following:
- The date the Claim form was served;
- Upon whom it was served;
- Address where served;
- The name of the person who did the serving.
The person who does the service must sign the affidavit before a Notary Public, or sign a certification in lieu of a notarized statement.
While an attorney is not permitted to represent you at the trial of a small claims action, he or she may provide you with assistance in preparing your case and/or in collecting any judgment which may be obtained. Depending upon your experience and the nature of your case, it may be advisable to seek the assistance of trained legal counsel.
If the defendant fails to appear for trial, the plaintiff may be granted a default judgment for the amount of the claim proved in court, provided the plaintiff can show proof of service. If a judgment is entered by default, however, the court cannot award an amount which is greater than the amount which was originally requested in the Notice of Small Claim. If the court orders judgment against the defendant, or if the defendant has filed a counterclaim and is granted judgment against the plaintiff, it is the duty of the losing party to pay without any delay. When both parties are present, either party can request the court to order a payment plan. Payment would be forwarded direct to the party awarded the judgment. After you receive payment you must notify the court in writing that the judgment has been satisfied. The lower portion of your judgment form is designed for this purpose.
Remember, the legal process assistant cannot give you legal advice. You will receive a certified copy of the District Court judgment which you can file in Okanogan County Superior Court. When this is done, it places a lien against all real estate in the name of the judgment debtor which is located in the county.
permitted by the plaintiff where the amount claimed was less than $1,000. If an appeal is taken to Okanogan
County Superior Court, the appealing party is required to follow the procedures set out in Revised Code of
Washington (RCW) 12.36. The following steps must be taken within 30 days of the entry of judgment:
- Prepare a written Notice of Appeal;
- File the original of the Notice of Appeal in District Court and provide a copy of that Notice to the other parties. File an acknowledgement or affidavit of service with District Court for the copies served;
- Pay to District Court a $230 filing fee (payable to the Clerk of Superior Court) and a $40 cost of appeal preparation fee payable to District Court.
- Post bond in a sum equal to twice the amount of the judgment and costs, or twice the amount in controversy, whichever is greater, (cash or surety) at District Court.
An appeal packet may be obtained from the District Court.
When the appeal and bond are transferred to Superior Court, the appellant (person appealing the decision) may request that the Superior Court suspend enforcement of the judgment until after the appeal is heard.
Within 14 days of filing the Notice of Appeal, District Court will transmit the court record to the Superior Court Clerk who will assign a new number and notify the District Court. The District Court Legal Process Assistant will advise the appellant of the Superior Court case number and the appellant must then contact Superior Court for further instructions.
Once the judgment has been appealed to Superior Court, the enforcement of any judgments entered in the case will be handled in Superior Court in the same manner as any other Superior Court judgment.