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What Are My Options If I Lose in Small Claims Court?

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Question: What Are My Options If I Lose in Small Claims Court?
Answer:

Whether you are the defendant or the plaintiff in a case in small claims court, you have the right to appeal the decision of the judge if you lose. You will need to file a written appeal with the Clerk of District Court within twenty (20) days of the decision or judgment, so don't wait too long to decide to appeal. You will also need to pay a fee when you file the appeal; you must make the payment to assure your right to appeal.

You will also have to file an appeal bond with the Clerk of District Court to guarantee payment of the judgment in the event that your appeal fails. Having an appeal bond stops the winning party from trying to collect on the judgment, but it also prevents the losing party from appealing just to avoid payment.

The only evidence heard in an appeal is the record of the trial, by a district court judge. When you file your appeal, make sure that a written transcript is being filed with the Clerk of District Court (the small claims court judge will typically do this automatically).

The District Court judge hearing the appeal may uphold the original decision, reverse the decision, or change the decision.

Back to All About Small Claims Court

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