Mississippi Court Records
What are Mississippi Small Claims Cases and Class Action Lawsuits?
Small claims cases in the State of Mississippi occur when an individual brings an action to the small claims courts against a person or a business, claiming monetary damages of $3500 or less. The Justice Courts of the State of Mississippi Judiciary have jurisdiction over such cases.
Generally, class action lawsuits involve a large number of individuals who have similar grievances filing a united suit against a common person/corporation. However, class action suits are unavailable in the state.
What is a Class Action Lawsuit in Mississippi?
Mississippi courts do not recognize class-action lawsuits. Typically, interested persons will have to file their cases individually. Class action lawsuits generally involve multiple litigants filing a consolidated action against the same defendant. While the state courts do not recognize class-action lawsuits, interested persons can file them in a federal court or join a certified class action in a state that recognizes them.
How do I File a Claim in a Mississippi Small Claims Court?
Interested persons can file a claim in a Mississippi small claims court if the amount requested is $3500 or less. Claimants are to file such matters at the Justice Court in the county where the defendant lives or where the incident occurred. Claimants can begin the suit process by visiting the office of the Clerk of Court and requesting the necessary forms to complete and file. Usually, there is a Declaration form that claimants are to complete with the details of the claims. There is also a Summons form that will contain the defendant’s name and address.
After filing the forms with the clerk and the payment of filing fees, the Sheriff’s Office serves a copy of the court papers to the defendant. The Sheriff then files the proof of service to notify the court that the defendant received the court papers. Litigants who cannot afford the filing fees can file a Pauper Affidavit with the help of the Justice Court clerk.
A trial is scheduled for the case, and involved parties can find out the date and venue from the clerk. If the plaintiff fails to show up for the trial, the judge dismisses the case. If the defendant fails to appear, the court may award a default judgment in favor of the plaintiff.
Do I Need a Small Claims Lawyer?
While hiring a lawyer is helpful, the Mississippi Justice Court does not require claimants to have a lawyer before they are eligible to file a suit. However, interested persons can employ the services of a lawyer specialized in the dispute to assist them. Lawyers can help in the filing process and also represent claimants at trial. Self-represented litigants can obtain necessary information about small claims cases from the state’s legal help site.
How do Class Action Lawsuits Work in Mississippi?
There are no provisions for class action lawsuits in Mississippi. Persons who wish to file an action against an individual or business are required to do that individually. Typically, class action lawsuits provide the opportunity for many plaintiffs to file a single suit against a defendant that causes them all similar grievances. Since class action suits cannot be filed at a Mississippi court, interested persons can consider filing such action at a federal court or joining a class action suit in another state that allows such. Usually, class action suits require a large group of plaintiffs, and each of them must have similar claims against the same defendant. There is a plaintiff in the group that is the representative of others in the class. Such plaintiffs must share the same concerns with the class members and protect their interest during court proceedings.
Is a Class Action Better Than a Single Party Suit?
Class action suits are more suitable for disputes concerning a large number of persons that sustained grievances from the same party. Typically, the dispute of all the members of the class can be settled with the court proceedings of a single case, and this will take a shorter time compared to single party suits by all the members in the class. If the class members file single party suits, they will incur more court charges than a class action suit. Claimants in a single suit party may find it hard to collect the judgment. The case could become moot if the defendant files for bankruptcy before the court awards a judgment. However, single-party suits give the claimant full control of the case and the power to make the decisions. Only the representative plaintiff in a class-action suit has control over the case, and this may cause other plaintiffs in the class to be at a disadvantage.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the document or person involved
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party websites may vary.
What Cases are Heard by Small Claims Courts in Mississippi?
The small claims courts in Mississippi typically hear civil cases with claims of $3500 or less. The Justice Courts have jurisdiction over such matters in the state. The type of cases handled by this court include:
- Disputes arising from eviction from a property
- Rent disputes between landlords and tenants
- Disputes due to a breach of contract
- Consumer complaints about a product
- Negligence actions
- Any legal dispute with claims of $3500 or less