CLERK BOOK SUITS (SMALL CLAIMS)

If you are a plaintiff filing a small claims suit in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, you must assume the position of representing yourself in a court of law. Before you file you may wish to consult an attorney to determine if filing the clerk's suit is proper for your particular situation.

THE CLERK OF COURT EMPLOYEES, JUDGES AND COURT PERSONNEL CANNOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE.

LIMITS:

The amount of claim for the clerk's suit cannot exceed $5,000.00, plus costs and interest.

You, as plaintiff, will be held responsible for accruing court costs. If costs exceed your deposit you will be billed for the additional costs.

FILING FEES:

One defendant: $175.00
Add $75.00 for each additional defendant.

PROCEDURE:

THE PLAINTIFF MUST COMPLETE THE PETITION AND HAVE HIS SIGNATURE NOTARIZED BEFORE FILING.  A sample form for a petition/affidavit is located under "FORMS" on this website.

Once the suit is filed, a citation is issued to the defendant. Defendant has ten (10) days from the date citation was served to respond, answer, or deny or contest the matter. The Clerk's office will mail you a notification of service or will notify you if service cannot be made. If defendant wishes to settle the matter, the defendant should contact you. You should contact the Clerk's office to obtain the amount of court costs thus far incurred, as well as the charge for dismissal.

If the defendant files an answer or denial, a copy will be sent to you. It will be up to you to request that the case be set for trial. You may obtain the form to do so at the Clerk's office. Once set for trial, notification will be sent to all parties by the Clerk's office.

If no answer is filed within ten (10) days from date of service, you may request judgment be entered against the party sued. This request must be made IN WRITING to the Clerk of Court. We will then prepare a judgment and submit it, along with the entire suit file, to the judge for his or her consideration. The judge will either sign the judgment based on the documents filed with your petition or will order that a hearing be held. If a hearing is required, notification will be sent to all parties.

If the defendant answers or if the Judge sets a hearing you must be prepared to represent yourself and/or your case in open court, before a judge. You must bring any evidence or supporting documents of your claim to the hearing.

If a judgment is rendered in your favor, upon signing by the Judge it will be recorded in the Clerk's office in the parish Mortgage records. Notice of Signing Judgment will be prepared by the Clerk's office and sent to all parties. The defendant has thirty (30) days from the date of mailing of the Notice of Signing Judgment or from service of the Notice of Signing Judgment in which to file an appeal.

Rendition of Judgment is no guarantee that you will collect. You must pursue the needed steps to collect.

If no appeal is taken you will be in a position to file a garnishment against the defendant's wages. At the time of filing of the garnishment petition you will need to pay approximately $250.00 in filing and service costs. You may obtain the form for the garnishment petition at the clerk's office. You must be able to furnish the name and service address for defendant's employer when you file the garnishment.

You may contact the Civil Suit Department of the Clerk's office at (318)357-2293 for more information.

Name and address of the Clerk of Court:

David Stamey, P.O. BOX 476, NATCHITOCHES, LA 71458-0476


For More Information Call the Civil Department (318) 357-2293