Magistrate Court Frequently Asked Questions
At the present time, Civil lawsuits are filed in the Magistrate’s Court at 967 West Adams Street, Ridgeland, South Carolina. Civil actions include anything that is not criminal in nature. Examples of civil actions include eviction, claim and delivery, suits on notes, suits for damages, suits for money damages and mechanic’s lien. The amount in dispute may not exceed $7,500.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Civil Suits:
Q. What does it mean by Plaintiff and Defendant?
A. Plaintiff: Person filing the suit
Defendant: Person being sued
Q. When can I see the Judge?
A. It is not recommended that you speak with a judge if you are contemplating bringing a civil action. If the judge speaks with you and you tell her/him about your case, the judge will not be able to hear the case because it is unfair to speak with one side without a representative of the other side present. If you need to speak with someone about filing a civil case, you may speak with the judge’s assistant.
Q. Once a Defendant has been served with a Summons and Complaint, they have a specific time period within which to respond. Some of those timeframes are outlined below:
A. Summons and Complaint - 30 days
Evictions - 10 days
Claim and Delivery - 20 days
Q. What do you do if someone files a counterclaim?
A. A Plaintiff may Reply to a Counterclaim, but it is not a necessary pleading.
Q. How much is my filing fee?
A. Filing fees in the Magistrate’s Court differ. Below is a summary of some of the pertinent filing fees:
Summons and Complaint $80
Claim and Delivery $65
Writ of Ejectment $10
Subpoena of Witness $ 8
Non Service by Sheriff’s Office – Certified Mailing: $5.00
Notice to Quit the Premises: $65.00
Public Sales: $35.00
Restraining Order: no fee (The losing party will have to pay a fee of $80.00 on the day of the trial.)
Q. How does a party appeal a judgment in Magistrate’s Court?
A. A party who wishes to appeal from a judgment issued in Magistrate’s Court must file a Notice of Intent to Appeal with the Clerk of Court’s office. You must set forth the reason(s) for your appeal. The Magistrate must have made a mistake in applying the law for an appeal to be successful. The appeal is a review of the record in Magistrate’s Court. It is not a new trial. You must file a copy of your notice with the Magistrate’s office. A Circuit Court Judge hears all appeals from Magistrate’s Court.
Q. Can someone be arrested in a civil case?
Q. What do I need to file a civil suit against the person?
A. You will have to provide the court the full name of the defendant and their physical address of residence or place of employment. This address will have to be located in Jasper County. If it is another County you will have to file within their jurisdiction.
Q. What happens next after I file my suit?
A. The Magistrate’s Office will forward the papers to the Sheriff’s office to be served. This procedure can last up to one to two weeks to be served.
Q. After being served how many days does the defendant have to answer?
A. Depending on the suit you are filing. The defendant has:
Summons & Complaint: 30 Days
Eviction: 10 Days
Notice to Quit the premises: 5 Days
Claim & Delivery: 20 Days
Restraining Order: This form will have a court Date attached to the papers and we will mail the notice to the plaintiff thru regular mail.
Q After the defendant has answer, what happens next?
A. Once the defendant answers, the court will set a court date, where both parties will appear to a hearing to discuss the suit before the presiding judge.
Q What do I have to bring to court?
A. You can bring any evidence that you may have that goes along with your case and/or any witnesses that you may have.
Q. How can I request a Jury Trial?
A. You as the plaintiff or defendant will have to notify the court immediately before the court date that you are requesting a jury trial.
Q. If I cannot appear to court, what can I do?
A. You can write or type a letter to the court requesting to reschedule your case. Your letter must include your name, current address, date and Case Number. This will have to be mailed or faxed at least two days before the trial date.
Q. What are the procedures for a Fraudulent Checks?
A. You will have to deposit the check within 10 Days of receipt of the check. If it is not deposited within 10 days then it becomes a civil action. Once it is deposited within 10 days and the check is returned, you will have to send a certified letter to the person who wrote the check, requesting that they pay the amount of the check plus the bank’s NSF fee. If the writer of the check does not respond within 15 days then you can go to the magistrate’s court with the original check, copy of the letter, and the envelope or green card and sign a warrant.