Oregon Small Claim Actions

One of the services that Slingshot Legal Services provides is the assistance for  lawyers, businesses and individuals, in pursuing potential claims $10,000 or less. One key strategy is filing any potential claim within those parameters in any Small Claim Department within every Circuit Court in every County in Oregon. Many of the County’s have their own form, however Oregon does have a generic small claims form that is accepted in every County in Oregon. You can obtain that form as well as the instructions at the Oregon Judicial Departments Home Webpage at https://www.courts.oregon.gov/forms/Pages/small-claims.aspx. Typically, lawyers are not allowed in Small Claim proceedings without the direct permission by the Court, and those requests are rarely granted.

When we assist a client with the small claims process, we work with them from beginning to end of the small claims process as well as the post-judgment enforcement. When a judgment is obtained, it is simply a piece of paper with numbers that mean something to the client, but in reality, it’s just that-a piece of paper. More on that shortly.

So the process is fairly simple, however can be a bit frustrating which is where our services come into play. We assist you with preparing the paperwork that you have chosen based on the information provided at the Judicial Departments website, we assist with the filing in the correct County, the location of the defendant(s), the service on the defendant(s) and the filing of the Proof of Service for serving the defendant(s). There are several ways to serve the defendant(s) as well as several ways to identify the proper defendant(s) if they are a company or business in addition to confirming the correct fees are paid. We make sure all the correct information is provided to the court and in correct form.

Once served, the defendant(s) have several options including (1) paying the claim; (2) filing and Answer and perhaps a counterclaim; and (3) filing and Answer and Counterclaim and requesting a trial by jury, which if the claim is over $750 (either way – original claim or counterclaim), the small claim action can be removed to Circuit Court, where attorneys may appear.

If the defendant(s) fails to file an Answer within 14 days of the date they received the Notice and Notice of Small Claim, you can default the defendant(s) and obtain your judgment upon preparing and submitting the proper forms to the Court. Upon acceptance of those documents, the Court should enter the judgment in the Courts Record.

As noted above, once you obtain the judgment (piece of paper), then the difficult part begins-trying to have that judgment/piece of paper collected on. This would include possible garnishment’s of bank accounts and wages, filing a lien on the defendant(s) property (attached automatically if claim is over $3,000), debtor examinations and many other possibilities. That post-judgment process is the most difficult task of collecting the money judgment.

Slingshot Legal Services can assist in the entire process and at this time of year, if you’re looking to close out your books or are owed for loaning someone money or a variety of many other reasons, we are here to help. We are not a collection agency and cannot violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, but we can certainly assist as the law will allow us to.

Please feel free to call or e-mail with any questions you may have and we would very much appreciate the opportunity to assist.

We wish everyone a very joyous and warm Thanksgiving Holiday!

Source: ORS 46.405 et. seq. https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/46.405

Oregon Judicial Department https://www.courts.oregon.gov/forms/Pages/small-claims.aspx

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