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Rhode Island Court Case Search — Find Your Lawsuit

Dena Standley | July 25, 2023

Dena Standley
Legal Expert, Paralegal
Dena Standley, BA

Dena Standley is a seasoned paralegal with more than 20 years of experience in legal research and writing, having received a certification as a Legal Assistant/Paralegal from Southern Technical College.

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

Summary: Being sued is no fun, but knowing how to access your court records will make the process easier. In Rhode Island, you can find your court records at the courthouse or by calling the court clerk. You can also access your case status online. Use SoloSuit to respond to a lawsuit and win.

Being sued for debt can throw you off balance and cause you to lose the gains you’ve made financially or plunge you deeper into debt. That is why you need to follow up on your case and avoid missing a court date or going to court unprepared. Viewing your court records can help you prepare a weighty defense and may prevent the court from allowing the collection agency to access your bank account or garnish your wages.

Rhode Island supports its citizens to access their records in the courthouse or online. The information you access ranges from the court date, courtroom number, and documents the collection agency filed against you. This article will help you learn how to access your records in Rhode Island. But first, how does the Rhode Island court system work?

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Court structure in Rhode Island

Understanding how Rhode Island’s court structure works makes it easier for you to find your court case. When you know what type of court has jurisdiction over your case, you will know where your case has been filed. Since debt collection lawsuits are considered civil cases, we will focus on the civil court structure in this section.

Rhode Island's court structure ensures its citizens receive the help they need conveniently and within a reasonable time. The various court levels work in tandem and get their jurisdiction over matters from the constitution. Rhode Island has three levels of courts that handle civil cases::

  • Supreme Court: This is the court of last resort for the state and has appellate jurisdiction over all matters. They follow the constitution and law precisely when reviewing cases from lower courts. They also have authority over the judicial system—they set rules for how the courts should conduct their work and administer discipline when necessary.

  • Superior Court: The four superior courts in Rhode Island hold both jury and non-jury trials in civil matters. They have original jurisdiction over civil cases where the amount in question exceeds $10,000, felony cases, and equity matters. Unlike most states, the appeals they receive from the District Court result in an entirely new trial instead of reviewing the previous judge's decision.

  • District Court: This court has exclusive jurisdiction over civil matters where the amount does not exceed $5,000. They also have original jurisdiction with Superior Court over claims between $5,000 and $10,000. Notably, the District Courts do not hold jury trials.

Your debt collection case will probably be heard in the District Court under the small claims division. These cases take approximately 60 days for a judge to make a decision. Hence, it's essential to file your Answer immediately and start working on your defense.

The graphic below further outlines Rhode Island’s court structure:


How to find your case number

Rhode Island court clerks maintain an organized filing system by using case numbers. When you present a matter to the court, the clerk assigns the issue a number to help identify it quickly during court proceedings or when you want to access your records. The number contains letters, digits, and characters gotten from:

  • The year the matter was filed
  • The case or court type
  • The judicial officer’s or judge's initials
  • The sequential number for the related cases for that year

The case number is usually indicated in the lawsuit, but if you cannot trace it, visit the courthouse and request the court clerk for help. You will fill out a request form and may pay a small fee for the services. Alternatively, go to the state's Rhode Island's online case access portal and search using the advanced filtering option.

How to access your court records in Rhode Island

Preparing well for court increases your chances of getting a favorable judgment if requesting the creditor to settle out of court is not an option. Rhode Island makes it easy to access the records when you visit the courthouse or use the online portal. Let’s briefly show you how to go about either option.

Access your court records in person

Making a trip to the courthouse guarantees you’ll get a detailed court record because the clerk may take slightly longer to enter the case information online. The first step in accessing your records is to find the location of the courthouse where your case was filed via the following link for District and Superior Courts. Once on the page, search for your city or town and take note of the physical address.

In the courthouse, the clerk will ask you to fill out a request form, and they'll use the details to search for your records. Other courthouses have public self-service terminals for you to access the documents and pay a nominal fee for the copies.

Access your records online

Remote access is the quickest way to find your records. The case number (record number) option further simplifies the process because you don’t need to enter more information apart from the case number. The Rhode Island Judiciary Public Portal gives you other options to search for your records. They include:

  • General option
  • Party search option
  • Case search option

Fill in as much information as possible to narrow down the search. The results will reveal your case only or several with similar details.

Let's look at an example.

Example: After suffering a severe accident in Rhode Island, Mike had a medical debt of $4,523 with Accurate Billing Solutions (ABS). Eventually, his employer replaced him because he could not perform his duties anymore. Eight months later, ABS tried to collect the debt, and Mike explained his situation, but the agent did not believe him. Instead, they delivered a lawsuit letter to his home. Mike knew he had to respond to the lawsuit but didn’t know how to explain his predicament. After hearing about SoloSuit’s customizable Answer, he used it to file a response. Mike knew he had a fighting chance, and he accessed his records via the state's online portal. He was later advised to visit the courthouse for comprehensive case records to prepare well for court. Since he lived in Middletown, he visited the Murray Judicial Complex at 45 Washington Square, Newport, and got his court records.

Use SoloSuit to respond to debt collectors

Our team works tirelessly to ensure you manage your debt situation without going deeper into debt. We have a wealth of helpful resources on our blog page and YouTube videos. In addition, our documents can help you address your current situation. These documents include:

  • Debt Validation Letter: When debt collectors initially reach out, send them this letter to force them to validate your debt. If they cannot prove that you owe the exact amount they claim, with proper documentation and evidence, then they must cease contacting you.

  • Answer: If you have been sued for a debt you owe, the first step to winning your case is to respond to the lawsuit. You can draft and file your Answer with your court in minutes with SoloSuit’s services.

  • Motion to Compel Arbitration: If you owe a credit card debt and are being sued for it, check your card agreement for an arbitration clause. If the clause exists, you can file a motion to force the case out of court and have an arbitrator help you reach a debt settlement with the opposing party.

  • SoloSettle: When you know you owe the money that you’re being sued over, and you have enough on hand to pay some of it off, reaching a debt settlement is a great option. This letter will help you start the debt settlement negotiation process.

Decide what to do next.

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To learn more about how to respond to a debt collection lawsuit, check out this video:

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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.

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"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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