A General Civil case is a dispute between two or more parties in which the plaintiff(s) accuse the defendant(s) of violating some rule of civil law which has caused injury or damage to the plaintiff. The plaintiff is typically seeking money damages up to $25,000 from the defendant. Either party may be an individual or a corporation or a unit of government. Unlike Small Claims, individuals may be represented by an attorney, while most businesses MUST be represented in General Civil matters.
To file a General Civil claim:
- You may go to either the Grandville or Walker division and ask the clerk for a Summons and Complaint form. You may also find this form online by clicking here.
- Fill in the exact name and physical address of the person or business you are suing. Unless you have the full and correct name and address, you may not be able to file the claim. You will not be able to obtain personal service if you use only a post office box address.
- Once the Summons and Complaint is complete, file it with the applicable court and pay 1) a filing fee which is determined by the amount of the claim, and 2) a service fee determined by the Process Server.
If you've been served a Summons and Complaint:
- You must file an Answer within 21 days of being served. If you do not have an attorney to file an Answer on your behalf, you may do so using the form found here.
- If the matter is not resolved between parties outside of court, a pretrial hearing date will be scheduled.