FAQ: Civil/Small Claims

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding Civil and Small Claims cases.


How long can I expect to be in court?
What should I expect when I go to court?
What if I need an Interpreter for my court appearance?
How much do I owe on my case?
Can I settle a case against me by paying the Court?
What forms of payment does the Court accept for filing fees?
When the Court receives payment from a garnishment on my case, how long before I receive the money?
If I am a plaintiff, how do I dismiss a case?
My case has been paid in full, but your records do not show that, how do I get my case to show that is has been satisfied?
How do I subpoena someone?
If a witness for my hearing cannot come, can I bring a statement from them?
I live in the court’s jurisdiction. Can I sue someone that lives in Cincinnati?
How do I get someone’s address?
How soon will my Small Claims case be heard?
If I win does the Court make the other party pay?
Do I get my court costs back?
Can I bring my evidence in video form?
Can I get my evidence returned to me?
Can I collect interest on my judgment?
What do some of these legal terms mean?

How long can I expect to be in court?

The Civil/Small Claims docket is held on Tuesdays. Civil trials are held in the morning, the general civil docket, including evictions, begins at 2:00 pm and the small claims docket begins at 2:30 pm. Multiple cases are scheduled so it is not possible to predict how long you will be in Court. It is recommended that you report directly into Court room #2 as soon as you arrive. (You do not need to check in with the Clerk’s Office.)


What should I expect when I go to court?

Be prepared to present your case. Bring all of your evidence with you to the trial and bring extra copies for the magistrate and other parties.


What if I need an Interpreter for my court appearance?

If you need an interpreter for court, you can request one at the time you file your case with the Clerk’s Office.


How much do I owe on my case?

We can give you the judgment amount awarded and the total court costs paid, however please be aware that Ohio law allows for interest to be added on the judgment. The Clerk’s Office does not keep track of the balance owed on civil or small claims cases. For a final/payoff balance, please contact the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney.


Can I settle a case against me by paying the Court?

Payment in full or payment arrangements are made directly with the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney. The Clerk’s Office does not keep track of the balance owed on civil or small claims cases. Please contact the other party directly.


What forms of payment does the Court accept for filing fees?

The Clerk’s Office accepts cash, money orders, personal checks (with address and telephone number on the check) Mastercard & Visa (an additional $3.00 processing fee is added when paying with debit or credit).


When the Court receives payment from a garnishment on my case, how long before I receive the money?

The Court holds the checks for at least two weeks to ensure that the payment has not been cancelled or returned for insufficient funds.


If I am a plaintiff, how do I dismiss a case?

If it is a small claims case the Clerk’s Office will provide you with a dismissal form when your case is filed. You may file this form with the Clerk’s Office if you wish to dismiss your case before your scheduled trial. After your trial, the Clerk’s Office will mail a satisfaction form along with the magistrate’s decision. You can file the satisfaction form with the Clerk’s Office after you have been paid the awarded amount plus interest and court costs. For a civil case, please follow the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure when dismissing your case.


My case has been paid in full, but your records do not show that. How do I get my case to show that it has been satisfied?

You will need to contact the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney and request that they file the appropriate satisfaction of judgment. Only the plaintiff or their representation can file this document. If you cannot contact them, you can request a hearing in writing. A hearing will be scheduled and you will need to bring proof of all payments to your hearing date.


How do I subpoena someone?

File a request with the Clerk’s Office. There are filing fees involved. If the witness resides in Montgomery County, this should be done at least five working days prior to your court date. If the witness resides outside of Montgomery County or Sheriff service is requested, additional time for service will be required.


If a witness for my hearing cannot come, can I bring a statement from them?

No statements or affidavits can be used in place of a witness in a small claims hearing. The opposing party has the right to question the witness.


I live in the court’s jurisdiction. Can I sue someone that lives in Cincinnati?

Cases are filed where the incident took place or where the party being sued lives or is located, not where the plaintiff resides. Our Court’s handles civil and small claims lawsuits that concern actions taking place in the cities of Kettering, Centerville, Washington Township and Moraine, as well as claims against people who live in these areas.


How do I get someone’s address?

It is up to the plaintiff to find out the address of the person or business they are suing. The court cannot help you find that information.


How soon will my Small Claims case be heard?

The Civil Division sets small claims trials approximately six weeks from the filing date. This gives time for the post office to attempt proper service of the suit upon the defendant.


If I win does the Court make the other party pay?

The court does not collect for you. There are options / tools available to help you with that process. See the Small Claims Citizens Guide for more information.


Do I get my court costs back?

Court costs and filing fees are non-refundable. If you win judgment, you may choose to collect court costs from the party you sued.


Can I bring my evidence in video form?

If it is on a phone, your phone can be kept by the magistrate. It is better to have email and/or text messages printed out to give to the magistrate. Other forms of evidence are a magistrate’s decision to accept or not.


Can I get my evidence returned to me?

Parties who have submitted evidence will be notified, upon completion of the case, of their right to recover their evidence for a period of sixty days. Any evidence not recovered will be destroyed pursuant to Ohio Rules of Superintendence Rule 26.


Can I collect interest on my judgment?

Each year, the Ohio Tax Commissioner sets interest rates on judgments issued for that particular year. For more information, please see the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure or the Ohio Department of Taxation.


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