421 Madison, 2nd Floor
Phone: (313) 965-5223
Hours: 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
division handles cases in which one party (a person, group, business,
corporation, or organization) brings an action against another
for money owed as a result of a variety of causes. Such reasons
include overdue accounts, rental security deposits, delinquent rent,
repair bills, physical damage or breach of contract.
person being sued must do business or live within the city of Detroit,
or the action must have occurred in the city of Detroit. To begin
a lawsuit in the Civil Division, you must fill out and file the
appropriate forms and pay the necessary fees at the Civil counter
on the 2nd floor. The docket is divided into two main categories:
General Civil cases (for suits up to $25,000.00)
Small Claims (for suits up to $5,000.00)
General Civil docket handles all lawsuits started in the Civil Division
that are not Small Claims cases. In these cases, either party has
the right to an attorney, the right to a jury trial, and the right
to appeal the decision of the court.
civil action begins with the filing of a Complaint with a court.
A complaint is the original pleading in a civil action where the
plaintiff states the basis for the lawsuit. A summons is a notice
that is served (delivered) to a party advising that a lawsuit has
been started against him or her. The summons directs the person
to appear in court within the given time or a judgment will be entered.
Claims cases involve suits for money disputes up to $5,000.00.
Initial Small Claims hearings are before magistrates, whose opinions can
be appealed to a judge. If you have a case in Small Claims court,
you give up the right to a jury trial, and the right to appeal a
judge's decision to a higher court. Either party may request that
the matter be placed on the regular civil docket. However, the request
must be made before the date of trial.
start a Small Claims lawsuit, you must fill out and file an Affidavit
and Claim form at the Civil Division counter on the 2nd floor of
the Madison Center Building. These forms are available at the cashier
counter for a nominal fee, and also at many office supply stores.
The cost for beginning a Small Claims suit depends on the amount
of your claim. Fee information for starting the suit as well as
service (notice) fees can be obtained at the cashier counter.
Click here for more information on
Once You Have Started a Small Claims Case.