Dena Standley | October 19, 2022
Summary: Are you trying to find your Michigan court case online? Below is SoloSuit's guide on Michigan's civil court structure, how to access your Michigan court documents online, and how to respond to a lawsuit there.
Are you concerned you could be the subject of a lawsuit you are unaware of? If so, You may get information on your court case online if you live in Michigan.
If you find it challenging to look for your case on the statewide search tools, you can call the court and ask a clerk to verify the status of your case for you over the phone. You need to provide the clerk with the:
You may encounter the word docket as you search for your case. A docket is the summary notes written by the court clerk on the actions that took place after the court proceedings. The courts also use it to enter the scheduled court proceedings in their calendar book.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about checking the status of your court case in Michigan.
Knowing how the civil court structure works in Michigan will help you locate your case easier. Civil cases are between private parties and usually involve one party suing the other. This is different from criminal cases, which involve the violation of a crime, or probate cases, which deal with wills. Civil cases are also different from family law, which deals with divorce and child custody matters. This section will primarily focus on Michigan's civil court structure.
It's important to understand which court has jurisdiction over your case. This will help you know who to contact and where to search online for your case status.
Michigan has three major types of courts:
A civil case will always begin in one of the trial courts. The Municipal Court is the lowest level and usually deals with cases that involve less than $3,000. District Court handles civil cases involving up to $25,000 (up to $6,000 for small claims cases). Finally, Circuit Court has jurisdiction over high-dollar cases that involve $25,000 or more.
If a case outcome is appealed at the Municipal or District Court level, the case will then fall under the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals.
The Supreme Court is the highest judicial level. This court deals with cases that have been appealed at the Court of Appeals level.
When you understand this civil court structure, it will be easier for you to know where your case resides. The graphic below further illustrates how the civil court structure works in Michigan.
You can view and copy Michigan court documents and paperwork on MiCOURT Case Search, but access isn't absolute. Michigan law and court orders protect certain information. A court may limit access to court papers in civil or criminal cases. Getting court papers requires a trip to the courthouse and submitting a written request to the clerk.
Once you find out you have a lawsuit filed against you, you can start by searching your case number using these steps:
Under Michigan Court Rule 8.119, court materials are presumed public (E). Access to any file or document and its contents should not be restricted by law, court order, or court seal. However, the law states that the following records will be unavailable for at least 65 days following the issue:
Not all court documents are open to the public. For example, a judge may order the secrecy of court documents if the following conditions are met:
The Michigan Portal makes it easy to access Michigan court records. The first option is to search using the case name—for example, Casey Robbins V. Chase Collection Agency. If you do not have the title, click on the advanced search button and enter the following information:
The information on the Portal is available to the public under the Michigan Public Record Act of 1976. The act stipulates the right to access public records unless such records are deemed exempt from public disclosure.
The lawsuit may have been served via mail, and you may not be aware that the creditor delivered the papers to your primary residence. This is because the service process might occur at your prior home. You may have avoided being served to prevent legal action. Avoiding service only delays the inevitable, giving the opposing side an advantage.
Discovering that you are the target of legal action can be scary and make you feel trapped. Recognizing that you cannot avoid dealing with this matter is the most critical first action you can take. In other words, do not ignore the lawsuit. Instead, you should respond to the lawsuit immediately to avoid a default judgment.
Remember that creditors often find themselves on the losing end of the debt-related lawsuits they launch against borrowers. Vital information is often lost when debts are sold or outsourced to companies that collect debts. If the company suing you cannot show the legitimacy of the debt, you have a strong chance of winning the legal battle being brought against you.
The first step to winning a debt collection lawsuit is to respond with a written Answer. In your Answer, you should respond to each claim that is listed against you in the Complaint document (also known as a Petition in some states). You should also state your affirmative defenses in your Answer, which helps you build a strong case for yourself. When you're finished drafting your Answer, file it with the court and send a copy to the party that is suing you.
To learn more about how to respond to a debt lawsuit, check out this video:
SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.
"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
You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now or are just looking for support, we're here for you.
Here's a list of guides for other states.
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