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South Dakota Court Case Search — Find Your Lawsuit

Dena Standley | October 22, 2022

Trying to find your court records in South Dakota is like ^^

Summary: When you get sued for a debt, it’s best to watch your case status as closely as possible. In South Dakota, you can search your court case records at the courthouse where your case is filed or online. Use SoloSuit to respond to the lawsuit and increase your chances of winning.

Debt collectors know how to make a consumer's life, like yours, complicated. If they fail to cause misery with the constant calls or emails, they resort to filing a debt collection lawsuit. If you have received a suit from a collection agency, do not despair, you can fight it in court. But first, you need to file an Answer, then follow up on your case records to help you prepare for court.

South Dakota allows its citizens to access their court records online through the state-wide public access portal or by making a trip to the courthouse where the creditors filed the case. Viewing your records helps you access information missing in the Complaint and Summons, and you can get additional documents the creditor may have included. Today, SoloSuit will show you how to access your case records. But first, you should understand how the South Dakota court system works.

Court structure in South Dakota

Understanding how South Dakota’s court structure works it will be easier for you to find your court case. Knowing 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.

South Dakota has one of the simplest court structures in America. They have two court levels, with another minor one operating with the second level. The structure helps the judicial system to work in unison.

South Dakota has three levels of courts that handle civil cases:

  • Supreme Court: This is the highest court in the state and has exclusive jurisdiction over various issues, either by right or permission. This court decides whether they’ll review a case by assessing its merit. If they accept the appeal, the justices review the records from the previous court's proceedings and may permit oral arguments. The judges also monitor how the entire judicial system operates—they ensure the rules are followed and discipline accorded where necessary.

  • Circuit Court: This court is the state’s trial court and has original jurisdiction over all civil cases. They also have exclusive jurisdiction in various civil actions and felony trials. Circuit Courts listen to witnesses, hear arguments, and accept evidence before ruling. Parties can appeal to the Supreme Court if dissatisfied with the court's decision.

  • Magistrate Court: This court works under the Circuit Court and has limited jurisdiction over minor civil actions. They hear small claims matters and damages not exceeding $12,000. The clerks in these courts receive special training and can preside over minor issues, but overall, the magistrate judges hear most of the cases.

Your debt collection case will be heard in your County’s courthouse, which houses the Magistrate Court. The small claims division in the Magistrate court processes these cases within 60 days and allows the parties to represent themselves.

The graphic below further outlines the South Dakota civil court structure:

sd-court-structure

How to find your case number in South Dakota

A case number is an identification method that court clerks use to keep track of all matters presented to them. It also helps them quickly access records for court proceedings or when you make a request. The number is derived from a combination of factors such as:

  • The year the creditors filed the case
  • The court type
  • The case type
  • The judicial officer’s or judge's initials

Your lawsuit will come with a case number indicated in the introductory section. If you do not have it, South Dakota allows you to access it by visiting the courthouse and making a request. You can also use the South Dakota eCourt portal to search by entering your details on the name search (case look-up) option. The results will produce your case number and additional case information.

How to access your court records in South Dakota

Preparing for your case or not can determine if the court will allow the collection agency to access your bank account, put a lien on your property, or garnish your wages. Ensure you do proper research to check if the collection agency got all the information right in the court documents they filed. And to do that, you need to access the case records. Here's how to go about it.

Access your court records in person

Accessing your records in person means taking a trip to the courthouse. It is convenient to use this method if the court is minutes away from your home or office. First, you need to find the location using this South Dakota courts directory. Next, look for your county or city using the court finder search and click on it. You'll be instantly redirected to a new page with the contact information for the physical address of the court clerk.

In the courthouse, the clerk will give you a form to fill in, and the details you provide will be used to find your documents. Try to be as accurate as possible—even with the spellings. Other courthouses have public terminals for citizens to search for the records by themselves.

Does the process sound challenging? Let’s look at a practical scenario to iron things out.

Example: Jason had an outstanding debt of $9,210 with Midwest Credits (MC), which he had failed to pay for ten months. An MC agent had called him countless times and threatened him with arrest, but he still could not pay. Three weeks later, he received a debt collection lawsuit. Jason knew he could not ignore the suit due to the many stories he had heard of creditors garnishing wages. He found SoloSuit’s videos and learned how to respond with an Answer. Jason explained his defenses, including the violation of his rights. Once he realized he had a strong case, Jason opted to visit the courthouse to access his records. He noted his case number, looked for the Sully County court location online, went, and the court clerk located his records. He paid $2.50 for the copies. The clerk advised him to check for additional details online instead of going to the courthouse.


Access the court records online

Online access is the quickest way to view your records using the case number option. You must first register a free public account to access your court documents in the South Dakota eCourt online access portal. Next, confirm your registration via email, and you'll be allowed to sign in.

Once in the portal, you can use the case number or the case look-up option, which requires you to fill in your:

  • Full names
  • Date of birth
  • Case file date
  • Case type
  • Case location
  • Case status

Click search and you'll immediately access your case records.

SoloSuit can help you

If you’re being sued for a debt, our team works hard to help consumers deal with their debt situation. We offer various documents to help a debtor respond to the creditor at different stages of the collection process. 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.
  • Debt Lawsuit Settlement Letter: 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.

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

What is SoloSuit?

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.

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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