How to file a Small-claims complaint under KRS 24A.220
By: David Denton with Jon Russelburg
Imagine you paid $500 for an appliance repair and the appliance is never fixed. You want to take the repair company to court and recover your loss but don’t know how to get started. That is where small-claims court comes into play.
Under KRS 24A.220, Kentucky has established the small-claims division in circuit court to settle disputes involving money or personal property valued at $2,500 or less. Small-claims actions do not require attorneys.
First, you must prepare form AOC-175 (see below) to file your small-claims complaint. The complaint form includes: Your name and address as the Plaintiff, the name and address of your attorney (if you choose to use an attorney), the name and address of the Defendant, the Plaintiff’s claim, the sum of your claim, and your claimed court costs.
Next, you must next file form AOC-175 with the Office of Circuit Court Clerk in the Kentucky county in which you wish the claim to be litigated. You will be charged a filing fee for the complaint.
Generally, the complaint should be filed in the county where the person you are suing lives or does business, or, in the case of corporations, in the county where its office or place of business is situated.
If your lawsuit is against a business, you have the responsibility to determine who should be served the summons on behalf of the business. You can call the Office of the Kentucky Secretary of State at 502-564-3490 to find out if the business is incorporated and obtain the name and address of the corporation’s process agent.
The Defendant will be sent a copy of the complaint after your complaint has been filed. You may choose to send the Defendant a copy of the complaint through certified mail or have the summons personally served on the defendant by the local Sheriff ’s Office. As it is your responsibility to determine who should be served in the complaint, you must also check with the Office of the Circuit Court to determine if the complaint has been served.
Once the Defendant has been served with the complaint, you will receive a Small-claims Summons form, which will include the date and time of your hearing. At the hearing you will have the right to call witnesses and present evidence to the judge. Each party has the right to examine any evidence presented and may question the other party and witnesses.
After both sides present their evidence, the judge will make a decision based upon the facts of the case and will enter a judgment against either the Defendant or the Plaintiff.
Much like larger monetary legal claims, small-claims actions are subject to counter claims. So, if you file a small-claims complaint, or have a complaint filed against you, be aware of the options you or the Defendant have in the process. The process of filing a small-claims counter-claim is the same as filing the original complaint, as long as the counter-claim is for a monetary value of $2,500 or less. The small-claims counter-claim form, AOC-185, can be found below.
If you have any further questions regarding small-claims actions, and would like to further discuss these issues, please contact the Denton Law Firm at 270-450-8253.
Small-claims compliant form AOC-175 can be found here: Kentucky AOC Form 175 Small-claims Complaint
Small-claims counter-claim form AOC-185 can be found here: Kentucky AOC Form 185 Small-claims Counter-claim