Courts - Filing a Small Claims Affidavit and Summons

Instructions for the Plaintiff

Filing Suit

Obtain a Small Claims Affidavit and Summons, Small Claims Military Declaration from the Salt Lake City Justice Court, or refer to our forms section of this website. You are the "plaintiff" in this case and the person you are suing is the "defendant." The maximum amount that you may sue for is $11,000. Claims must be for money only. Small Claims Court cannot be used to evict a tenant.  When you file the Affidavit and Summons with the court, you must pay a filing fee at the time you file the Affidavit and Summons.

The debt must be owed to you. An employee may represent an employer, by supplying a letter of authorization from the business and file it with the court. Persons or corporations may litigate actions on behalf of themselves in person or through authorized employees with or without counsel according to Utah Code 78A-8-102(4)(a).

 The Small Claims Court has jurisdiction over cases in which the defendant resides or the debt arises within the geographic boundaries of Salt Lake City. To view the Salt Lake City boundary, click here.

The amount of debt is required and what you are suing for, and the defendant's name, street address and telephone number. The defendant's social security number will be helpful. You must prepare the Affidavit, sign it in the presence of a notary public or court clerk, have your signature notarized, and file it with the court clerk. The Affidavit should be typewritten, but will be accepted if legibly handwritten.

Filing a Suit Against a Business

If you are suing a business, call the Utah Department of Commerce/Division of Corporations (801-530-4849) located at 160 E 300 S or go to their website to obtain the business' proper name, correct spelling and registered agent.

To serve a business entity, you may serve the registered agent. If the business entity does not have a registered agent, you may serve the business's main office by registered or certified mail.

If you serve your affidavit and summons by registered or certified mail, please fill out the Small Claims Proof of Service of Affidavit & Summons form and file with the court. If you are unable to serve by registered or certified mail, you may have a constable, sheriff or process server serve your papers on the business to any person in charge at any regular location of the business.

Service of the Affidavit and Summons

It is your responsibility to have your Affidavit and Summons served. There are different types of service.

1) You may submit the Affidavit and Summons to a Sheriff, Constable, Deputy, US Marshal or Marshal's Deputy or process server to serve your Affidavit and Summons upon the defendant(s).

2) You may have your Affidavit and Summons served by mail; this method requires the defendant to sign a receipt and provides for return of that receipt to the plaintiff(s). Examples are: Certified Mail restricted delivery, Registered Mail or Commercial Courier Service. 

3) You may have your Affidavit and Summons served by any other person (a third party) 18 years of age or older at the time of service and not a party to the action or a party's attorney. 

Make sure that your Affidavit and Summons is served on the defendant(s) at least thirty days before the trial date, in accordance with Rule 3(b) of the Small Claims Procedure.

Trial Date

The clerk will set a trial date and give you a copy of the Affidavit and Summons with the trial date on it. If you fail to appear at trial, your case may be dismissed.

Contact the individual who is serving your Affidavit and Summons a few days prior to trial to make sure the Affidavit and Summons has been served and proof of the service has been filed with the court clerk. If your Small Claims Affidavit and Summons has not been served or have not filed the proof of service with the court, your trial date will not be scheduled, until proof of service has been filed with the court.

To check and see if your case is scheduled, click here for the court calendar.

Utah Rules of Civil Procedure - Rule 4 (b)(i)

If your Affidavit and Summons is not served within 120 days after filing, the action shall be dismissed without prejudice on application of any party or upon the court's own initiative.  

Military Service Declaration

A Military Service Declaration form must be filled out if you are suing an individual, to support a default judgment (if the defendant does not appear at trial), in compliance with the Service Members Civil Relief Act, Title II, 521. You must prove that the individual is not in the military in order for the court to grant a default judgment, if the individual does not appear at the trial. The Military Service Declaration form does not not apply, if you are suing a business.

If you have the defendant's social security number or date of birth (birth month and year) you can do your research at the Department of Defense Service Members Civil Relief Act website.  The website will provide you with the current military status of an individual. There is no charge to print the certificate. You must print the certificate and attach it to the Military Service Declaration form before filing it with the court.

Counter Affidavit

If the defendant files a Counter Affidavit against you, the trial may be rescheduled. If you fail to appear at trial after a Counter Affidavit has been filed, judgment may be entered against you for the amount requested in the Counter Affidavit.

Settlement

If your small claims case is settled before the trial date, the plaintiff must file a Motion to Dismiss and Order with the court. The form is available at the court or you can click here for the form.

If your small claims case has already been to trial and was postponed to a new date and the case has been settled, plaintiff must file a motion to dismiss and order with the court immediately.  The defendant may also file a motion to dismiss and order with the court with proof of payment to the plaintiff, the judge may grant or deny the motion; a hearing maybe conducted by the judge. 

Postponing the Trial

To postpone the trial date, complete and file a motion and order to postpone at least five business days before trial. A postponement is not automatic; you must provide a good reason. The court clerk can grant a postponement of up to 45 calendar days. A request for postponement for more than 45 days may be granted only by the judge.

One postponement of the trial date per side may be granted by the clerk. The court may require the party requesting the postponement to pay the costs incurred by the other party.  

Defendants and plaintiffs should read this information pertaining to both parties