INSTRUCTIONS FOR SMALL CLAIMS COURT
Tenth Ward, 4TH District, Lafourche Parish,
JUSTICE OF THE PEACE COURT:
1. THIS COURT CANNOT AND WILL NOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE, NOR CAN THE JUDGE COMMENT ON THE CASE OUTSIDE OF COURT.
2. The boundaries of this court are the following:
· South= Gulf of Mexico
· North= Intercoastal Canal
· East = Jefferson Parish
· West = Bully Camp/Ward Eleven
This is the area in Larose below then Intercoastal Canal, Cut Off, Galliano, Golden Meadow, Leeville or Fourchon,
3. Filing Fee: $100.00 (EXTRA MONEY FOR MORE THAN 1 DEFENDANT)
*** Additional cost if service is made outside of this Court’s jurisdiction (e.g. The Secretary of State, Baton Rouge Sheriff, etc.)
4. The most ONE can sue for is $5,000.00.
5. Information needed to file claim:
· Full name of Defendant
· Home Address of Defendant
· Zip Code of Defendant
· Telephone Number of Defendant
*** Make sure address is correct and current. If not, there will be additional charges for each new address attempted.
6. You must furnish the court with TWO (2) copies of any and all documents filed with suit if it is 1 defendant. If more than one defendant, an extra copy is required for each additional defendant. If you want a copy for yourself, you need an additional copy. THE COURT WILL CHARGE $1.00 PER PAGE.
7. If you sue a CORPORATION, you must provide the NAME and ADDRESS of the
"REGISTERED AGENT." To obtain this information, please contact the Louisiana Secretary of
State at the following:
8. IF YOU SUE A BUSINESS, YOU MUST PROVIDE THE FULL NAME AND DOMICILE ADDRESS OF THE OWNER.
9. ADDITIONAL COSTS CHARGED FOR GARNISHMENTS, JUDGMENT DEBTOR RULES, ETC.
10. THIS COURT IS NOT A COLLECTION AGENCY. A judgment in your favor does not mean you will instantly get your money. If a person is unemployed, does not own property, collects welfare, SSI, Social Security or other assistance of some sort, it may be impossible to collect. There are various tools to collect money owed under a judgment. The most common method is to garnish the debtor’s wages. Another remedy is to seize and sell property of the debtor. The judgment may also be recorded in the mortgage records which acts as a judicial mortgage on the debtor’s property.
The Judgment is recommended to be recorded in the Clerk of Court’s office in Thibodaux. 985-447-4841. Mailing address is: POB 818, Thibodaux, LA. Ask any Notary in the office how to release the Judgment from the Clerk’s Lien and Mortgage Records once it is paid (satisfied).
11. YOU ARE YOUR OWN ATTORNEY. However, if you choose, you may obtain an attorney. Both parties retain the right to be represented by an attorney at trial.
12. How do I Initiate a Claim?
The claimant does not need an attorney. The court can accept verbal claims, but usually the court has fill-in-the blank forms that serve as pleadings. The Justice of the Peace can not give legal advice, nor will the court rule in advance; however, the office does provide information on claim filing procedures. Please do not try to give the court an overly detailed explanation in the hope of prejudicing the court. You will have an opportunity to present your claim at a later date.
13. What happens once I file?
The Constable will try and serve the claim. It is the Plaintiff's responsibility to provide adequate information to effect service of process. The general rule is that the court should be provided with Defendant's place of domicile. However, if that is not possible, then any other address (such as place of employment) is sufficient. Once the defendant(s) is served, he has 10 days in which to file a response, which may be an admission of liability or fault or any number of affirmative defenses. If the defendant fails to file a response, the claimant can take a "default" judgment by presenting evidence to the court sufficient to justify a judgment in his favor. If a
response is filed, the court will set a hearing at the convenience of the parties in which both sides will have the opportunity to present evidence and testimony.
14. APPEALS----What If I Don’t Agree With The Judgment Of The Court?
A party has 15 days to file an appeal, which includes the posting of an appeal bond. The claim will then be heard "de novo" (from new) by a District Court Judge, at which point the decision will be final.
One may file an appeal with 17th Judicial District Court, in Thibodaux, within FIFTEEN DAYS (15) after judgment has been served. For additional information, please call (985) 447-4841.
You can call or come in to check on the status of your suit Monday through Friday.
15. What about Criminal Matters?
Justices of the Peace are committing magistrates authorized to issue warrants for arrest in many matters. The only criminal matters that may be tried are prosecutions of litter violations. If you have any reason to believe a crime is being committed, please contact your nearest law enforcement agency. Litter violations may be reported to the Constable or Sheriff’s office. The court can not issue restraining orders, but in some instances may require a peace bond.
16. What Other Matters May Be Brought To The Justice of the Peace Court?
The Justice of the Peace is a fully commissioned Notary Public, and therefore can provide notarial services. Of course, Justices of the Peace may perform civil marriages. Couples should obtain a marriage license from the Clerk of Court’s office, and will need to have at least two witnesses present. Marriage ceremonies are scheduled by appointment. Justices of the Peace may also determine ownership and possession of moveable property not exceeding $5,000 in value. This sometimes enables the court to clear up titles to automobiles and trailers. Finally, the Justice of the Peace serves to help citizens "know where to go." We’ll do our best to point you in the right direction if we are unable to help with your specific problem