Small Claims Court in Salt Lake County

In Salt Lake County, UT small claims cases are filed in the justice court. Salt Lake County has fifteenth justice courthouses that handle small claims, serving different jurisdictions.

Squabble is here to assist you in navigating the small claims court system and filing a claim with ease. We recognize that not everyone is a legal expert, and our goal is to simplify the process for you. This guide will answer your questions about filing claims in the Salt Lake Court System.

Small Claims Court

In Utah, small claims cases are filed in justice courts across the state, with the exception of Cache County, where small claims cases are filed in district court instead. This distinction ensures that residents of Cache County follow a different procedural path compared to the rest of Utah when pursuing small claims litigation.

In small claims cases under Salt Lake County, Utah law, you're limited to suing for monetary damages up to a maximum of $15,000. According to Utah Code Section 78A-8-102, small claims court does not permit lawsuits against government agencies or eviction cases.

Cases Handled

Small Claims Court deals with various situations where you can file different cases. For instance: Tenant/Landlord Dispute Personal Injury Stolen Property Damaged Property Debt Collection Auto Repair Poor Construction Product Defect Broken Contracts or Verbal Promises

Who may file a claim

  1. Individuals:
    • If the party is an individual, designate them by their legal name.
    • For minors (under 18 years old), if they are the Defendant, they can be sued directly or through their parent or legal guardian. If they are the Plaintiff, they must be represented by their parent or legal guardian in the lawsuit.
  2. Businesses:
    • Sole Proprietorship: Owned by one person, not incorporated. Designate the individual owner's name, possibly along with any trade name used (if applicable).
    • Partnership: Owned by two or more persons, not incorporated. Designate the names of the partners.
    • Corporation: A separate legal entity from its owners. Designate the legal name of the corporation. Ensure you have accurate information about the corporation's registered office location and the name and address of the Registered Agent.

Where to file

Here's how to determine where to file:

  1. Defendant's Location: File in the justice court where the defendant resides or where the events that led to your claim occurred.
  2. Suing a Business: Use the Department of Commerce's Business Search to find out where a business is registered. This determines which court jurisdiction to file in.
  3. Skilled Workers: Many skilled workers are registered with the Department of Commerce. Use their resources to find registered individuals in occupations like dentists, contractors, or beauticians.
  4. Finding the Right Court:
    • File in the city or town justice court if available.
    • If no city or town court exists, file in the county justice court.
    • In Cache County, file directly in district court as there is no county justice court available.

By following these steps, you ensure your small claims case is filed in the correct map court jurisdiction, based on the defendant's location or the location of the events central to your claim.

Filing Forms

To determine if your court is using Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) for small claims cases, you'll typically need to check with your local justice court or consult their website. Here's a general approach to figure out the correct forms based on whether ODR is used:

  1. Check Court Information: Visit the website of your local justice court or contact them directly to find out if they utilize Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) for small claims cases. They may have specific information or a list of courts using ODR.
  2. Using ODR:
  • If your court uses ODR, you will need the following forms:
    • Justice Court Cover Sheet
    • ODR Small Claims Summons and Affidavit
    • These forms allow you to initiate your case and engage in online dispute resolution.
  1. Not Using ODR:
  • If your court does not use ODR, you will require these forms instead:
    • Justice Court Cover Sheet
    • Affidavit and Summons (Small Claims)
  • Along with these forms, you'll need to pay a filing fee as indicated on the cover sheet. If you cannot afford the fee, you can request a fee waiver.
  1. File the Forms: Once you have completed the appropriate forms based on whether ODR is used, file them with the justice court where you intend to pursue your small claims case.

If you're unsure whether your court uses ODR or need specific details, contacting the court directly is the best way to get accurate information tailored to your jurisdiction.

For ODR Cases

After you file your case:

  1. Receive Email from Court: The court will email you a password and a link for Online Dispute Resolution (ODR). Check your email, including your spam folder, for a message from courtsystems@utcourts.gov.
  2. Log In to ODR: Visit odr.utcourts.gov and click "Login". If you didn't receive your password, click "Forgot/Reset password".
  3. Log in Within 7 Days: You must log in within 7 days of filing, or your case may be dismissed.
  4. Waiting Period: After you log in, wait for the defendant to log in. The defendant has 14 days from being served to log in to the ODR system.
  5. ODR Facilitation:
    • If the defendant logs in, a court facilitator will assist in trying to resolve your case. You'll communicate with the facilitator and the defendant via chat messages.
    • Notifications will be sent via email or text when there are new messages or actions required.
  6. Default Judgment:
  • If the defendant does not log in within the 14-day period, you can request a default judgment. Use these forms:
    • Military Service Declaration
    • Motion for Default Judgment: Online Dispute Resolution Case
    • Order Granting Default Judgment: Online Dispute Resolution

Following these steps ensures you are prepared for the ODR process and understand what to do if the defendant does not participate within the required timeframe.

If you reach an agreement during ODR:

  • The facilitator will draft a settlement agreement.

If no agreement is reached:

  • Your case goes to trial; attendance is mandatory.
  • Gather evidence and prepare your case thoroughly.
  • Use subpoenas if needed for witnesses or documents.
  • To change the trial date, file:
    • Motion to Postpone Small Claims Case
    • Order on Motion to Postpone Small Claims Case
  • The court will notify the other party if your request is granted.

For Non- ODR Cases

When you file, your case will be scheduled for trial. Attendance is crucial as non-attendance may result in an automatic loss. Bring all evidence and clearly explain why you should win. Review "Going to Court" for preparation tips.

During preparation, you may need witnesses or documents. You can compel them to testify or provide documents by serving a subpoena. Learn more on our subpoenas page.

If you need to change the trial date for a valid reason:

  • File a Motion to Postpone Small Claims Case (PDF Form | Fillable Form).
  • Submit an Order on Motion to Postpone Small Claims Case (PDF Form | Fillable Form).

Upon approval, the court will notify the other party accordingly.

Rule 6 Pre-Trial

  • (a) No discovery is allowed, but parties should exchange information before trial.
  • (b) Written motions and responses can be filed before trial or presented orally at the start of trial. No motions are considered before trial.
  • (c) Each party can request one trial postponement by filing a motion at least 5 business days before trial. The clerk notifies the other party. Postponements over 45 days need judge approval, and costs may be assigned to the requesting party.

Court Fees

Small Claims Fees:

  • Filing Fees (Affidavit or Interpleader Affidavit):
    • Claim of $2,000 or less: $60
    • Claim greater than $2,000 and less than $7,500: $100
    • Claim greater than $7,500 and less than $11,000: $185
  • Counter Affidavit Fees:
    • Claim of $2,000 or less: $50
    • Claim greater than $2,000 and less than $7,500: $70
    • Claim greater than $7,500 and less than $11,000: $120
  • Trial De Novo (Appeal to District Court):
    • Fee: $225
  • Additional Fees:
    • Abstract of Judgment: $50 (to District Court)
    • Writ of Garnishment: $50 (to the court), $10 (to the garnishee)
    • Writ of Continuing Garnishment (wage): $50 (to the court), $25 (to the garnishee)
    • Writ of Execution: $50
    • Regular Copies: $0.25 per page
    • Certified Copies: $4 for the certificate, $0.50 per page

These fees apply to various legal actions within the small claims court system, and the amounts may vary depending on the jurisdiction and specific circumstances of the case.

Here are the non-court fees associated with small claims court procedures:

Witness Fee:

  • First day: $18.50
  • Subsequent days: $49
  • Mileage: Reimbursed at the current federal rate for distances over 50 miles one way.

Service of Process Fee / County Recorder Fee:

  • Fees determined by statute or by the service provider. These fees can vary based on the specific service required, such as serving legal documents or recording judgments with the county recorder.

These fees are additional costs incurred in small claims court cases for witness attendance and travel expenses, as well as for formalizing legal actions through service of process or recording with the county recorder.

Serving the Defendant

When you file your documents with the court, the clerk will process them and provide you with a case number. Here's what you need to do next:

  1. Serve the Defendant: You must ensure that the defendant receives copies of the documents you filed. If your case does not use Online Dispute Resolution (ODR), you need to have the defendant served at least 30 days before the trial date.
  2. Keep Copies: It's important to keep a copy of everything you serve on the defendant for your own records.
  3. File Proof of Service: After serving the defendant, you must file proof of service with the court. This document confirms that the defendant received the necessary paperwork within the required timeframe.

These steps are essential to ensuring that your small claims case progresses smoothly and that all parties are informed and prepared for the proceedings. Following the rules of Small Claims Procedure, specifically Rule 3, helps maintain the integrity and fairness of the legal process.

Settlement

If you've reached an agreement either through ODR or before your trial, you can seek court assistance to enforce your settlement with these steps:

  • Step 1: File these forms at the justice court where your case was originally filed:
    • Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement-Small Claims Case
    • Order on Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement and Judgment-Small Claims Case
  • Step 2: Serve the other party with the filed papers.
  • Step 3: Attend the scheduled hearing.

If the court rules in your favor, you may receive a judgment. Learn more about the process of collecting a judgment.

Unsuccessful Facilitation

If facilitation in the ODR process is unsuccessful, the following steps and responsibilities apply:

  • a) The facilitator will:
    1. Terminate the facilitation process and inform the court to set a trial date.
    2. Assist the parties in preparing a form summarizing relevant information discussed during facilitation that both parties agree upon.
    3. Submit the prepared form to the court before the trial.
    4. Advise the defendant to file and serve any counterclaims at least 3 days before trial.
  • b) The court will:
    1. Schedule a trial date within 7 to 21 days from receiving notification from the facilitator.
    2. Notify the parties of the trial date using the email address associated with the ODR account or any updated email address provided to the court.
  • c) If a party has a conflict with the assigned trial date:
    1. They should attempt to mutually agree on a new trial date with the other party and request a stipulated change of date from the court promptly.
    2. If unable to agree, the party must request a continuance of the trial date directly from the court, no sooner than 5 days before the trial.

Failing to Respond

If the plaintiff fails to respond during the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) process:

  • After 10 days of non-response, the facilitator may inform the defendant about the option to file a request to dismiss the case.
  • If the defendant can show that the plaintiff failed to register or participate in a previous case involving the same dispute, any dismissal will be with prejudice, meaning the case cannot be refiled.

Settlement Agreement

Here's a summarized version of the Settlement Agreement process: If a judgment debtor fails to comply with the terms of a settlement agreement that hasn't been reduced to a judgment:

  • a) The judgment creditor can file a request for the court to enter a judgment for the amount owed.
  • b) The judgment creditor must submit to the court: A copy of the settlement agreement form from Paragraph 7. An accounting of any payments received since the settlement agreement date.
  • c) The court will notify the judgment debtor via their ODR-associated email or updated email address.
  • d) The judgment debtor has 14 days from receiving the notice to file an objection. If an objection is filed, the court will schedule a hearing.
  • e) If no hearing is requested, or if the judgment debtor fails to appear, the court will enter judgment in favor of the judgment creditor.
  • f) After any scheduled hearing, the court will enter judgment unless it determines that the judgment debtor did not violate the terms of the settlement agreement.

Counterclaims

During the facilitation process, defendants can present counterclaims without formally filing them. If an agreement is reached where the defendant becomes the judgment creditor, no further action is needed.

If the case goes to trial, defendants must formally file a counterclaim and pay the filing fee at least 5 days before trial. Defendants can serve the plaintiff via the email address provided by the plaintiff.

Trial

If you go to trial, the judge typically decides the outcome immediately. If not, they have 60 days to render a decision.

  • Winning: If you win, the defendant must pay you. If they don't, learn how to collect your judgment.
  • Losing and Appeal: If you lose and believe there was a mistake, you can appeal within 28 days of the judgment.
    • Fill out and file these forms with the court that issued the judgment:
      • Utah District Court Cover Sheet for All Civil Actions (not Probate/Domestic Rel)
      • Notice of Appeal-Small Claims Case
    • The court will charge fees for the appeal.
  • Appeal Process: Your paperwork goes to the nearest district court within the same judicial district. They will schedule a new trial where previous trial outcomes don't dictate the new trial's outcome.
  • Preparing for Appeal: Bring all evidence and be ready to explain why you should win.
  • Winning on Appeal: If successful, you may need to prepare the judgment using this form:
    • Judgment

Going to Court

Preparing for Court:

  • Dress Professionally: Wear attire suitable for an important occasion, such as a job interview.
  • Bring Evidence: Bring all witnesses, documents, photographs, and other evidence to support your case. Have at least 4 copies: one for each witness, the judge, the opposing party, and yourself.
  1. Representation: In small claims cases, you may represent yourself or be represented by a lawyer, employee, or another person approved by the judge (Rule of Small Claims Procedure 13).
  2. Arrive Early: Arrive at least 30 minutes early to navigate security, locate your courtroom, and confer with your attorney or witnesses. There's typically no facility for storing personal items, so avoid bringing anything that might be confiscated.
  3. Security: Courthouses employ strict security measures similar to airports. Do not bring weapons or contraband, and minimize metal items to expedite the screening process.
  4. Court Calendar: Check the court calendar to confirm your courtroom. Calendars are usually posted outside courtrooms or available from court clerks. If unsure, ask the judge's clerk for assistance.
  5. Taking Your Turn: Sit quietly in the back of the courtroom before your hearing time. Be prepared for potential delays and turn off your phone and pager to avoid distractions for yourself and others.

Following these guidelines will help you navigate your court appearance professionally and effectively.

Appeal

Appeals Process Overview

  • (a) You can appeal a court's final decision within 28 days of judgment or denial of a motion to set it aside. If the original small claims trial was without a jury and certain conditions are met, the new trial in district court will include a jury.
  • (b) File a notice of appeal with the court that issued the judgment and pay the fee, unless waived due to financial hardship.
  • (c) After filing, the district court clerk schedules a new trial and notifies all parties. The appeal process excludes affidavits but may require information sharing before trial.
  • (d) The district court decides on the new trial's specifics, held nearest to the original court for justice court appeals and in the same district court for small claims appeals.
  • (e) Delay payment by posting a bond with the district court until a final judgment is made.
  • (f) Within 10 business days of appeal, the justice court sends necessary documents to the district court.
  • (g) Once the district court issues a final decision, it informs the original court.
  • (h) The district court may dismiss an appeal and return the case to the original court if you fail to appear or neglect steps necessary for the appeal.
  • (i) Moving a small claims case to district court under Rule 4A gives all parties standard district court appeal rights.

Miss Trial

If you miss your trial, your case may be dismissed, or a judgment could be entered against you if the other party filed a counterclaim.

You have the option to request to undo the dismissal or judgment. This request must be made within 15 days after the judgment or dismissal was entered. If more than 15 days have passed, you'll need to explain the reason for the delay.

To ask the court to undo the dismissal or judgment, you need to file these forms:

  • Motion to Set Aside Dismissal or Default Judgment
  • Order on Motion to Set Aside Dismissal or Default Judgment

The court will schedule a hearing for your request. It's crucial that you attend this hearing.

Collect Judgment

When a court issues a judgment, the creditor can enforce it if the debtor doesn't pay voluntarily. This often involves seizing and selling the debtor's non-exempt assets.

Accurate record-keeping is crucial to resolve any disputes over the amount owed. Both parties should keep copies of the judgment and maintain detailed records of payments, expenses (like attorney fees and garnishment costs), and any payments received from the debtor or their insurance.

To renew or satisfy a judgment, proof of the total amount due—including the original judgment, interest, collection costs, and authorized fees—is required. Both parties can present evidence and challenge each other's claims, with written records being the most reliable form of documentation.

Post-Judgment

  • If there's a contract setting a post-judgment interest rate, it applies to the original judgment and any renewals.
  • According to Utah Code Section 15-1-4, civil judgments without a specified rate accrue interest at two percent above the federal interest rate at the judgment's entry year. This rate remains fixed throughout the judgment's duration, regardless of changes in the federal rate.
  • Post-judgment interest on renewed judgments follows the rate from the original judgment year, unless a contract specifies otherwise.
  • For detailed rates since 1993, refer to our webpage on Post Judgment Interest Rates.

Judgment Lien

A judgment lien on real property doesn't immediately collect money from the debtor but restricts them from selling or mortgaging the property until the judgment is satisfied or expires. To establish a judgment lien:

  1. Obtain an Abstract of Judgment or a certified copy of the judgment from the court clerk where the judgment was issued.
  2. File the Abstract of Judgment or certified copy with the County Recorder's office in each county where the debtor owns real estate.
  3. Include a Judgment Information Statement along with the filing.

Debtor’s Property

For forms and more details, refer to:

  • Abstract of Judgment
  • Judgment Information Statement

To identify a debtor's property for potential seizure through writs like execution or garnishment, Rule of Civil Procedure 64(c) allows creditors to seek court permission for discovery methods.

The most common methods are hearings and written interrogatories, which enable creditors to ask debtors questions—either verbally or in writing—about their assets.

Legal Writs for Judgment Enforcement

  • Writ of Garnishment: Seizes non-exempt personal property or money owed to the debtor by third parties like employers or banks (Rule 64D).

    • Writ of Execution: Seizes non-exempt real or personal property in the debtor's possession (Rule 64E).
    • Writ of Replevin: Recovers specific personal property before judgment, under specific conditions (Rule 64B).
    • Writ of Attachment: Seizes non-exempt real or personal property before judgment, under specific conditions (Rule 64C).
  • Sale of Seized Property:

    • Seized real and personal property (excluding money) can be sold to satisfy the judgment, governed by Rules 69A, 69B, and 69C.

Satisfaction of Judgment

  • Once the judgment is fully paid, the creditor must file a Satisfaction of Judgment with the court.
  • Additionally, a Satisfaction of Judgment must be filed with the county recorder in each county where an Abstract of Judgment was filed.
  • If the judgment is paid but the creditor hasn't filed a Satisfaction of Judgment, the debtor can file a Motion for Satisfaction of Judgment.
  • Rule of Civil Procedure 58B governs Satisfaction of Judgment. For more details, visit our webpage on Satisfaction of Judgment.

Statute of Limitations for Renewing Judgments

The statute of limitations for renewing a judgment in Utah is 8 years from the date of the original judgment (Utah Code Section 78B-2-311).

  • The judgment creditor must file a Motion to Renew Judgment before the expiration of this 8-year period.
  • If the motion is filed before the expiration but not ruled on until after, the renewed judgment is effective from the original judgment's expiration date.

Let Squabble Help You With Your Small Claim at Salt Lake County

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Courthouses Location:

  1. Salt Lake City Justice Court

    2001 S. State St., S4-300 (South Building, Fourth Floor)
    P.O. Box 144575
    Salt Lake City, UT, 84114
    (385) 468-8200
    https://slco.org/justice-court/

    BUILDING HOURS

    • Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., except court holidays.
  2. Alta Justice Court

    Town Office at 10201 East Hwy 210
    Alta, UT 84092
    (801) 742-2407
    https://townofalta.com/town-services/alta-justice-court/

    BUILDING HOURS

    • Monday - Friday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., except court holidays.
  3. Bluffdale Justice Court

    2222 14400 S
    Bluffdale, UT 84065
    (801) 254-2200
    https://www.bluffdale.gov/174/Justice-Court

    BUILDING HOURS

    • Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., except court holidays.
  4. Draper City Justice Court

    1020 Pioneer Rd.
    Draper, UT 84020
    (801) 576-6540
    https://www.draperutah.gov/city-government/city-court/

    BUILDING HOURS

    • Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; except court holidays.
  5. Herriman City Justice Court

    13011 South Pioneer Street
    Herriman, Utah 84096
    (801) 446-5323
    https://www.herriman.org/court

    BUILDING HOURS

    • Monday - Friday 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; except court holidays.
  6. Holladay Justice Court

    4580 south 2300 East
    Holladay, Utah 84117
    (801) 273-9731
    https://www.utcourts.gov/

    BUILDING HOURS

    • Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; except court holidays.
  7. Midvale Justice Court

    7505 Holden St.\ Midvale, UT 84047
    (801) 567-7265
    https://www.midvale.utah.gov/government/departments/justice_court/index.php

    BUILDING HOURS

    • Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.; except court holidays.
  8. Murray City Justice Court

    688 East Vine Street
    Murray, Utah Murray
    (801) 284-4280
    https://www.murray.utah.gov/83/Justice-Court

    BUILDING HOURS

    • Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.; except court holidays.
  9. Riverton Justice Court

    12830 S Redwood Rd.
    Riverton, UT 84065
    (385) 237-3444
    https://www.rivertonutah.gov/court/index.php

    BUILDING HOURS

    • Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; except court holidays.
  10. Salt Lake City Justice Court

    333 South 200 East
    Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
    (801) 535-6300
    https://www.slc.gov/courts/

    BUILDING HOURS

    • Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; except court holidays.
  11. South Jordan Justice Court

    10655 South Redwood Road
    South Jordan, UT 84095
    (801) 446-4357
    https://www.sjc.utah.gov/229/Courts

    BUILDING HOURS

    • Monday - Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Friday 8:00 a.m. to noon; except court holidays.
  12. South Salt Lake Justice Court

    220 E Morris Avenue
    South Salt Lake City, UT 84115
    (801) 483-6072
    https://sslc.gov/164/South-Salt-Lake-Justice-Court

    BUILDING HOURS -Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; except court holidays.

  13. Taylorsville Justice Court

    2600 Taylorsville Blvd.
    Taylorsville, UT 84129
    (801) 963-5400
    https://www.taylorsvilleut.gov/government/court-law

    BUILDING HOURS

    • Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; except court holidays.
  14. West Jordan Justice Court

    8040 S. Redwood Road
    West Jordan, UT 84088
    801-256-2290
    https://www.westjordan.utah.gov/justice-court

    BUILDING HOURS

    • Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; except court holidays.
  15. West Valley Justice Court

    3636 South Constitution Boulevard
    West Valley City, UT 84119
    801-963-3590
    https://www.wvc-ut.gov/317/Justice-Court

    BUILDING HOURS

    • Monday - Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; except court holidays.
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