If you are filing in Small Claims, it must be for damages under the amount of $5,000. You may obtain the forms at no charge, from the Small Claims Office. You may also access and complete the forms through the online forms program
You can file against either an individual or a business. If you are filing against a business, you need to find out if the business is incorporated. If the business is incorporated, you must obtain the name of an officer or a registered agent of the corporation. To obtain this information, contact the Secretary of State, Corporate Division, in Tallahassee at (850) 488-9000 or at http://www.sunbiz.org. When calling the Corporate Division, you will be able to find out if the business is incorporated, the name of a corporate officer or registered agent and an address for service.
At the time of filing your case, you have a choice of how to serve the defendant. You may request that the defendant(s) be served by the Sheriff's Department, an authorized process server or registered mail. The 20th Judicial Circuit established, via Administrative Order 2.30, an approved list of Certified Process Servers as a means for the service of process for initial nonenforecable civil process.
For Lee County: The Lee County Sheriff's Department charges $40.00 (cash or money order only) per defendant. Many of the out-of-county sheriff's offices also charge $40.00 per defendant. The Clerk will assess $10.00 to issue each summons an additional $1.00 per defendant to cover postage. The $1.00 fee should be a separate check, made payable to the Lee County Clerk of Courts.
Certified mail can only be used within the State of Florida. The fee for service by registered mail is $7.00 per defendant. Checks should be made payable to the Lee County Clerk of the Courts.
It is required that you supply copies of any paperwork or documents that you plan to use to substantiate your claim. Documents - such as receipts, contracts or lease agreements - must be provided for the court file and one copy for each defendant that is named in your claim. Please have all documents copied prior to the time of filing. There is a $1.00 per page charge for all copies made by the Clerk's Office.
Links to Small Claims Instructions for Individual Counties:
If the defendant lives in another state, you will need to find out the county in which he/she resides. Call that county's Sheriff's Department (long distance information is the county's area code followed by 555-1212) to ascertain the following information:
- What law enforcement agency serves summonses?
- How much do they charge for serving each summons?
- What payment method (cash, check, etc.) is acceptable?
- What is the agency's mailing address?
Once you have obtained this information, complete the forms* and return them to the Clerks Office, along with the filing fee and service fee (including an additional $1.00 per defendant postage fee, made payable to the Lee County Clerk of Courts).
*Forms may be obtained, at no charge, from the Small Claims Office in the Clerk's office.
Small Insurance Claims
It will be necessary to know the address of the home office for the insurance company, when filing a claim against them. If you do not have the appropriate address, ask the clerk in Small Claims for a book used to obtain this information. The information cannot be given over the telephone.
All claims filed against an insurance company are served through the Insurance Commissioner for the State of Florida. An example of how the defendant should be listed on both your Statement of Claim form and the summons form would be as follows: ABC Insurance Company, 333 Main Street, Any town, AZ 12345, by serving Insurance Commissioner, State of Florida.
All documents that will be used to substantiate your claim should be filed with your claim. The Clerk's Office requires one copy and the Insurance Commissioner requires three copies, making a total of four copies. If the Clerk's Office is asked to make any copies, the charge is $1.00 per page.
The fee for service by the Insurance Commissioner is $15.00 (cashier's check or money order only). Make the check payable to Insurance Commissioner, State of Florida. In addition to the service fee, the Clerk assesses a fee of $1.00 to cover postage. This should be a separate check made payable to Lee County Clerk of Court.