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Objective information on small claims judgement collection

States — A Closer Look at Small Claims
State rules for collecting your judgment


The Law

The law in Mississippi regarding small claims court is difficult at best to follow and there are few internet resources for those filing claims. The law can be found at Mississippi Code Annotated 9-11-9 and in several bits and pieces one may be able to put together just how to go about proceeding with a small claims action. One thing to note is that these cases are handled in each county’s justice court with its own fees and procedures. The case must be brought in the county where the defendant resides or where the breach occurred.

Monetary Limit

The monetary limit for small claims court in Mississippi presently stands at $3,500. If your claim exceeds that amount, you may either choose to limit your claim to that amount or discuss with an attorney your chances of recovering the full amount in another court. Keep in mind that small claims courts are faster, easier and less expensive allowing you to file and fight your claim without an attorney. While you may represent yourself in a more formal court, it may be in your best interest to hire an attorney if you do not intend to use the small claims court arena. Consider whether the extra cost will be worth the additional money you are asking for.

Individuals, businesses, and corporations can file a small claims action, and be sued in that court in Mississippi. If you are under 18, your parent or guardian must file the claim, or be the ones named in the claim against you.

Small claims cases are filed in justice courts in each county of the state.

Types of Claims Allowed

  • Loans;
  • Auto negligence;
  • Goods and services not paid for or delivered;
  • Landlord/tenant disputes;
  • Car repairs;
  • Property damage;
  • Return of specific personal property.

No claims regarding marital or divorce issues may be brought in this court.

Filing Your Claim

The first step in filing your claim is to fill out a “Declaration and Affidavit” on which you will simply and clearly give information your case. You will need to give your name, address, and phone number; the defendant’s name and address; the amount of the claim against the defendant; and, the reasons why the property or money should be awarded to you.

It is important that the defendant’s name and address be correct. If it is a business or corporation, you can get the proper address from the Better Business Bureau or the Secretary of State’s Office. Be sure also that if there is a specific person in the business, that you list his/her name as well.

The clerk will help you fill out the form; will give you a docket number; and the date and time of the trial. The clerk will also help with seeing that the papers are served to the defendant.

What the Defendant Can Do

  • Once the defendant is served, he/she has several options. They can settle the claim and pay what is owed or return property requested;
  • Answer the suit by giving reasons why you should not be awarded the judgment;
  • Default and not show up for trial;
  • File a counterclaim and explain why you should be the one paying the money.

Before the Trial

While it is not required in Mississippi, some type of mediation is encouraged; and this is most often at little or no cost. The courts prefer that your case is settled through some sort of mediation because it relieves the crowded court dockets and saves the court time and money. Before you refuse to attend mediation, remember that if you cannot settle your claim in mediation to your satisfaction, you can still go to court.


In Mississippi, it is up to you whether you have an attorney represent you. If you choose not to have one, you can still seek advice from him/her about the case and what you will need in court. There is no specific reference to lawyers other than to say that you may ask for attorney fees to be included in the judgment if you win.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for small claims in Mississippi depends on the type of action you have. Additionally, it can make a difference whether the clock begins when the breach occurred or when you discovered it. To be safe, file your claim as soon as possible so that the statute of limitations does not expire.

In Mississippi, the statute of limitations ranges from 1 to 7 years depending on the type claim filed:

  • Liens on real estate and judgment liens — 7 years which may be extended;
  • Personal injury negligence — 3 years from discovery;
  • Promissory notes — 3 years;
  • Oral agreements and written contracts — 3 years;
  • Open accounts debt collections — 3 years;
  • Personal injury — 3 years from time of injury;
  • Sales contracts — 6 years.


Either side may appeal for a new trial — “motion for relief”. The appeal must be filed with the Circuit Court within 10 days of the original small claims decision.

Collecting Your Judgment

Like all other states, Mississippi small claims courts will not help you collect your judgment if you win. This will be up to you; and like other states, though the procedures may be somewhat different, the same types of collection methods will apply.

  • Wage garnishment;
  • Bank account garnishment’
  • Liens on personal property;
  • Writ of Replevin to have your property seized.

For a more complete list of methods to collect the judgement you are entitled to, see our General Methods for Collecting Your Judgment article in our collection of articles on judgment collection resources. The methods are generally the same in all states, though the procedures you need to follow may differ in different jurisdictions.

Back to States — A Closer Look at Small Claims - articles on how to collect your judgement by state

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Tip of the Week

September 27, 2010

If you have been awarded a judgment, waited the 30 days required, sent a demand letter giving the debtor a time limit for paying his/her debt; what should you do if you still have no money? You know that the court can do little, but before you take steps to garnish wages or bank accounts, consider suggesting negotiation or mediation if the debtor gives any impression that they want to settle the matter.

More tips...

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