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How to File in Oregon Small Claims Court

George Simons | October 19, 2022

Summary: Need to file a document with an Oregon small claims court? Find out how.

In Oregon, debts worth $10,000 and below are filed at the small claims Circuit and Justice Courts. These debts are often resolved without the help of a lawyer. Therefore, it's important to understand how to effectively represent yourself in court if served with a small claim complaint in the state.

Let's discuss how to file an Answer in these courts and different strategies to increase your chances of winning such cases.

Use SoloSuit to file your answer to a debt collection lawsuit in 15 minutes.

Small claims courts in Oregon

These courts are sometimes called "the people's court" because they are faster and economical. Instead of a jury, these cases are presided over by a judge. They also don't require legal representation unless with permission from the judge.

However, lawyers can actively prepare evidence and other documents their clients may need before the case.

Not all claims below $10,000 must be heard in these courts; defendants who want a jury to preside over the case, and have claims valued between $750 and $10,000, can request the court to transfer the case to an appropriate civil court.

If you've been sued in any small claim court in Oregon, you have up to 14 calendar days to respond to the complaint. After that, the plaintiff can request the court to pass a default judgment in their favor if you don't respond. This ruling enforces legal debt recouping methods such as wage garnishment. The plaintiff may also collect other court-related expenses they incurred, such as filing and service fees.

Make the right affirmative defense with SoloSuit and win your case.

How to file a small claim answer in Oregon

The state's court system provides several forms to respond to different summons. For example, you can complete the Defendant's Response Form, ensure that all the right boxes have been checked, or use SoloSuit to generate a complete Answer document in three easy steps.

Using SoloSuit saves you time and increases your chances of obtaining a favorite outcome. And given that these responses are time-sensitive, this application ensures you file the correct response within the legal timeframe.

How to use the defendant's response form

If you opt to use this form, you need to complete it with the correct information. Generally, the form allows you to deny the claim and request a hearing in the small claims court. However, you can use this form for two other reasons, which include:

Requesting a Jury Trial

You can request a jury trial if the plaintiff is claiming an amount higher than $750. When that happens, the plaintiff will be required to file a formal complaint within 20 days, or the court will dismiss the case.

If the plaintiff files a complaint, they'll serve you with a copy of the same. You'll then be required to respond within ten days of being served.

Filing Counterclaims

You can use the same form to file counterclaims responding to the complaints and summons served. A counterclaim is filed if you believe the plaintiff owes you money arising from the same circumstances they sued you for. You'll also need to make a brief description of the counterclaim, whether it's money or property.

If the counterclaim is worth $10,000 or less, the small claims court can decide the case. If the amount exceeds this threshold, you must also file a motion to transfer the case to a civil court for a hearing. Without a motion, the court will dismiss your counterclaim.

Overall, you must ensure that your Answer document has:

  • your name and address;
  • the name of the plaintiff, including their name and address;
  • details about the case such as the amount owed, case, and index number;
  • details about the small claim court where the complaint was filed.

Creating Your Answer Document

An alternative way of responding to debt collection suits is by creating your own Answer document containing the right information to avoid rejection. That's where SoloSuit comes in handy as it saves you the stressful process of compiling information and responding to the debt collection suit.

Creating your own Answer document means you have to find out the requirements of the small courts in Oregon. Usually, most of the information you'll need in the document, as mentioned earlier, can be found in the Summons and Complaints.

Next, respond to each complaint by admitting, denying, or claiming a lack of knowledge about the complaint. You must read each paragraph in the complaints and use one of these three responses to reply to the complaint with a matching paragraph.

When done with the step above, include your affirmative defenses stating the reasons why the plaintiff doesn't have a case against you. Some of the reasons you may use include:

  • the statute of limitation on the debt has expired;
  • the debt has been paid or dismissed;
  • the account of the debt isn't yours;
  • the debt was incurred as a result of identity theft;
  • you were a co-signer to the debt and were not informed about your rights.

Finally, file the Answer with the responsible court and send a copy to the plaintiff. Defendants in Oregon are required to pay filing fees depending on the amount of the lawsuit. If these fees aren't paid, the response will be rejected.

Dont ignore a debt collection lawsuit. Respond with SoloSuit.

How SoloSuit can help with small claims

The filing procedures in small claims courts in Oregon can be extremely confusing and time-consuming. However, that's not the case when using the SoloSuit legal aid web application to help you through the process right from the beginning to the end.

Rather than creating a whole new document, SoloSuit has an Answer template that meets all the standards required by the small claims courts in the state. The application generates the Answer document for you based on your response to the questions created by the application. It will also guide you through stating the correct affirmative defenses to increase your chances of winning the case.

Once the document is complete, you may print and file it with the relevant court and serve the plaintiff with a copy. SoloSuit can also file the document on your behalf at a small fee. Besides, SoloSuit can have your Answer reviewed by a competent attorney before filing, improving your chances of winning the case by 80 percent.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James

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