NC Small Claims Courts to Increase Limits on Claims in August 2013

Increases on Limits on Amounts in Controversy in State Court: Superior Courts will hear claims above $25,000; District Courts will hear claims from $10,000 to $25,000; and small claims courts will hear claim from $5,000 to $10,000

The North Carolina General Assembly passed a law in June that increases the claims limits for Superior Court, District Court, and small claims court, making way for more litigation to be handled in lower courts and raising the dollar limits for filing a lawsuit in N.C. Superior Court.

The law takes effect on August 1, 2013, and redefines small claim limits as up to $10,000, an increase from the current $5,000. The district court division will handle civil action for claims of $25,000 or less, an increase from $10,000 or less. The superior court division will take claims above $25,000, an increase from $10,000 and above.

The new law aims to reduce the number of cases filed in N.C. Superior Court while helping to alleviate the current backlog of cases.

If you have a legal dispute that may require you to file (or answer) a lawsuit, please call our Wilmington office to schedule an appointment. We can meet with you to discuss the details of your case. Contact us online or call (910) 763-3626.

Sources: http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2013/06/26/new-law-puts-more-litigation-in.html and http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2013/Bills/Senate/PDF/S452v5.pdf

Comment from Carter & Carter:

Most of the cases we handle are in Superior Court, since it’s usually not cost-effective to file a lawsuit or hire an attorney to represent you if less than $10,000 is at stake.  Now that the Superior Court division will only hear cases with more than $25,000 in controversy, we may see more clients with claims in the $10,000 – $25,000 range who are required to proceed in District Court.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing; sometimes it can be advantageous to assert civil claims in District Court since you’re more likely to have the same judge for the whole case or at least all of the judges will be from your own judicial district rather than from out of town.  We rarely advise clients to proceed in Small Claims Court since the informal approach taken by the magistrate so often leads parties to appeal to the district court.  I have rarely heard anybody say they were satisfied with the outcome in small claims court or that they were glad they started there instead of in District Court.

About Oliver Carter III

Oliver Carter III is an attorney with Carter and Carter Law Firm in Wilmington, North Carolina. The firm offers business and financial law services including bankruptcy, business litigation, estate planning, and foreclosure law.

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