Magistrate Court

Putnam County

Magistrate Court Civil FAQ
   
 
 
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Magistrate Court Civil
 
Can you give me a brief overview of civil jurisdiction and venue.

 
Magistrate Court's civil jurisdiction encompasses civil claims of $15,000 or less.

Many persons choose to represent themselves in Magistrate Court. Our procedures are stream-lined. However, the rules of evidence apply to all parties, whether representing themselves or being represented by counsel. Individuals having claims involving substantial sums or having unique applications of the rules of evidence are usually best served by hiring a lawyer.

Businesses can also file and defend civil claims. Any full-time officer or employee of a corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership or unincorporated association may be designated by such entity as agent for purposes of representing it in civil actions to which it is a party in magistrate court. However, an outside collection agent or debt collector, who is not an employee cannot represent a business

An action on behalf of a corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership, or unincorporated association may be filed and presented by such designed agent.

Civil actions may be filed in the magistrate court of the county in which the Defendant (the party you are suing) resides.

If the Defendant is a business, the type of business determines the proper venue.

1. For sole proprietorship, the suit should be brought in the county in which the owner of the business resides.

2. For a partnership, the suit should be brought in the county in which at least one of the owners resides.

3. For a corporation, generally, the suit can be brought in either: (1) the county in which the corporation has designated with the Secretary of State as its registered office with service upon its registered agent; (2) in the county where the corporation maintains an office, upon its managing agent, or any officer of the corporation who is at that location. You should choose the jurisdiction which is most feasible for you.

If the there are multiple Defendants, you can file your case in any county in which venue would be proper for at least one of the Defendants, if they are jointly and severally liable.

Magistrate Court is a court of limited jurisdiction. It cannot hear cases involving all claims. For instance, divorce and family matters, and any case in which the court would be called upon to decide who is the legal owner of real estate. In addition, the Magistrate Court cannot issue an injunction, which is an order directing a party to take some action such as repairing or returning property.

There is a fee for the transfer of a case to State Court or Superior Court. Failure to pay the transfer fee will result in a dismissal of the claim. If you file a case in Magistrate Court over which the court does not have jurisdiction or where venue is improper, the case will be transferred to a court that does have jurisdiction. An order will be entered transferring the case to the appropriate court. The order may contain a requirement that you pay a transfer fee within twenty (20) days. There is no additional fee for transfer of the case to a Magistrate Court in another county.

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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
Glossary of useful terms in civil cases.

 
Action - A court proceeding when one party prosecutes another for the protection or enforcement of a right, the prevention or correction of a wrong, or the punishment of an offense.

Allegation - A statement by a party in a pleading describing what that party's position is and what that party intends to prove.

Answer - The formal declaration under penalties of perjury in response to a question. Also, it may mean to formally file with the clerk of court a written response to a lawsuit, dispossessory action, etc..

Appeal - A written request to a higher court to modify or reverse the judgment of a trial court or intermediate level appellate court. An appeal begins when the loser at trial files a notice of appeal, which must be done within strict time limits (often 30 days from the date of judgment or seven (7) days from the date of a landlord tenant action.

Case - A lawsuit or judicial proceeding intended to solve a controversy between parties.

Cause of Action - The facts that make up the theory for a case or lawsuit.

Civil Case - An action brought by a person or party to recover damages or property, to force someone to honor a contract or to protect one's civil rights.

Counterclaim - An independent cause of action, usually by the defendant, that opposes or offsets a previous claim made by the plaintiff.

Cross Examination - At trial, the opportunity to question any witness, including your opponent, who testifies against you. The opportunity to cross-examine usually occurs as soon as a witness completes his/ her direct testimonyCoften the opposing lawyer or party, or sometimes the judge, signals that it is time to begin cross-examination by saying, Your witness.

Damages - An award of money paid by the losing party to the winning party to compensate for losses or injury incurred.

Defendant - The accused in a criminal case or in a civil case, the person or organization against whom the plaintiff brings an action.

Dismissal with Prejudice - The claim may never be asserted against the other party again.

Dismissal without Prejudice - The claim may be reasserted against the other party in the future.

Evidence - Any type of proof that is legally presented at trial through witnesses, records and/or exhibits.

File - To deposit in the official custody of the Clerk of the Court to enter into the files or records of a case.

Filing Fee - Money paid to the court to start a civil action.

Foreclosure - The forced sale of personal property to pay off a loan or other legal obligation connected with the property on which the owner of the property has failed to pay.

Hearing - In the trial court context, a legal proceeding (other than a full-scale trial) held before a judge. During a hearing, evidence and arguments are presented in an effort to resolve a disputed factual or legal issue. Hearings typically, but by no means always, occur prior to trial when a party asks the judge to decide a specific issue--often on an interim basis--such as whether a temporary restraining order.

Impeach - To discredit. To impeach a witness' credibility, for example, is to show that the witness is not believable. A witness may be impeached by showing that he has made statements that are inconsistent with his present testimony, or that he has a reputation for not being a truthful person.

Judgment - A final court ruling resolving the key questions in a lawsuit and determining the rights and obligations of the opposing parties.

Jurisdiction
1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case.
2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
3) The territory, subject matter or persons over which lawful authority may be exercised by a court, as determined by constitution or statute, e.g., the Magistrate Court cannot try cases involving divorce.

Jury - A group of people selected to apply the law, as stated by the judge, to the facts of a case and render a decision, called the verdict. Traditionally, an American jury was made up of 12 people who had to arrive at a unanimous decision. There are no jury trials in Magistrate Court.

Lawsuit - 1) A legal action started by a plaintiff against a defendant based on a statement or claim that the defendant failed to perform a legal duty, which resulted in harm to the plaintiff, 2) a legal dispute brought to a court for resolution.

Liable - Legally responsible. For example, a person may be liable for a debt, liable for an accident due to careless behavior, liable for failing do something required by a contract or liable for the commission of a crime.

Motion - During a lawsuit, a request to the judge for a decision--called an order or ruling--to resolve procedural or other issues that come up during litigation. Some motions are required to be in writing, such a motion for summary judgment. Other motions, such as a motion for a directed verdict, made at the end of one party's side of the case, can be made orally.

Notary Public - A licensed public officer who administers oaths, certifies documents and performs other specified functions. A notary public's signature and seal is required to authenticate the signatures on many legal documents.

Oath - An attestation that one will tell the truth, or a promise to fulfill a pledge. Party B One of the litigants. At the trial level, the parties are typically referred to as the plaintiff or complainant and the defendant or respondent. On appeal, they are known as the appellant and appellee.

Petition - A formal written request made to a court, asking for an order or ruling on a particular matter.

Plaintiff - The party bringing a civil action.

Rebuttal - Evidence given to explain, repel, counteract, or disprove facts given in evidence by the adverse party.

Pro Se - This term denotes a person who represents themself in court.

Settlement - An agreement reached among the parties that resolve the case at any time before court findings.

Statement of Claim - A written statement filed by the plaintiff that initiates a civil case, stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant and requesting relief from the court.

Statutory overnight delivery O.C.G.A. 9-10-12(b)(1)(2)(3). (b) Whenever any law, statute, Code section, ordinance, rule, or regulation of this state or any officer, department, agency, municipality, or governmental subdivision thereof provides that a notice may be given by statutory overnight delivery, it shall be sufficient compliance if:

(1) Such notice is delivered through the United States Postal Service or through a commercial firm, which is regularly engaged in the business of document delivery or document and package delivery;

(2) The terms of the sender's engagement of the services of the United States Postal Service or commercial firm call for the document to be delivered not later than the next business day following the day on which it is received for delivery by the United States Postal Service or the commercial firm; and

(3) The sender receives from the United States Postal Service or the commercial firm a receipt acknowledging receipt of the document which receipt is signed by the addressee or an agent of the addressee.

Subpoena - An official order to attend court at a stated time. The most common use of the subpoena is to require witnesses to court for the purpose of testifying in a trial.

Summons - A notice to the defendant that an action against him or her has been commenced in the court issuing the summons and that a judgment will be taken against him or her if the statement of claim is not answered within a certain time.

Testify - To give evidence under oath as a witness in a judicial proceeding.

Testimony - Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trial.

Witness - A person who testifies under oath at a deposition or trial, providing firsthand or expert evidence. In addition, the term also refers to someone who watches another person sign a document and then adds his name to confirm (called "attesting") that the signature is genuine.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
Where should I file my case?

 

You must file your case in the county in which the Defendant (the party you are suing) resides. This requirement is referred to as "venue."

5A. Individuals
For an individual, venue is the county of the person's legal residence.

5B. Businesses
The proper venue for a business Defendant is determined by the type of business. For a sole proprietorship, the suit should be brought in the county in which the owner of the business resides. For a partnership, the suit should be brought in the county in which at least one of the owners resides. For a corporation, the suit should be brought in the county which the corporation has designated with the Secretary of State as its registered office.

5C. Multiple Defendants
For multiple Defendants, you can file your case in any county in which venue would be proper for at least one of the Defendants, if they are jointly and severally liable.

5D. Out of State Parties
For a party which lives outside the State of Georgia, or a corporation from outside the State of Georgia, your case should be filed in the county in which the transaction or occurrence giving rise to the claim took place.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

 

 

Magistrate Court General
 
Magistrate Court Hours and Locations.

 

Main Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8:00am - 5:00pm

Below are the hours of the Magistrate Court. These hours and locations are subject to change due to holidays and specially set matters.

The Magistrate Court hours, for both civil and criminal matters, are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Putnam County Courthouse 100 S. Jefferson Ave. Suite 306, Eatonton Ga.

The on-duty magistrate may be contacted at (706) 485-4306, or you may E-Mail the on-duty magistrate. E-mail responses are remitted as time permits, for the most prompt service, contact the on-duty magistrate at the telephone number listed above.

First Appearance Hearings are conducted Monday & Wednesday at 3:00 and Friday at 10:00am and Commitment Hearings are scheduled as needed.

Warrant Application Hearings are conducted as scheduled at courtroom 320 East wing of Putnam County Courthouse.

Civil Calendars are conducted on Wednesdays beginning at 10:00am at the Putnam County Courthouse courtroom 320 East wing 100 S. Jefferson Ave.

County Ordinance Violations are scheduled as needed at the Putnam County Courthouse courtroom 320

Bad Check Warrants are issued after proper notice and proper Documentation, A $10.00 fee, $30.00 return Check fee and a Warrant Fee is collected from the signer of the check.

 

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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court General
 
What is the physical and mailing address of the court?

 

Our physical address is:
Suite 306, 100 S. Jefferson Ave., Eatonton, Ga. 31024

Our mailing address is:
Suite 306, 100 S. Jefferson Ave., Eatonton, Ga. 31024

 

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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
Where do I sue?

 

You must file your lawsuit in the county in which the Defendant resides, regardless of where the check was given to you. For a more detailed discussion of venue, please refer to the Civil Claims FAQ file.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
Who may file a claim or have a claim filed against them?

 

The party who files a claim is referred to as the "Plaintiff." The party who is sued is referred to as the "Defendant." A claim must designate the proper Plaintiff(s) and Defendant(s). The determination of the proper party will depend on whether the party is a person or a business and how that business is set up. Failure to name the proper parties may result in a defective judgment.

4A. Individuals
If the party is a person, you should designate that party by his or her legal name. For example "John Doe."

4B. Minors
If the party is a minor (under the age of 18), the proper party depends upon whether the minor is the Plaintiff or the Defendant. A minor may not be a Plaintiff directly but must sue through the minor's parent or legal guardian. For example "John Doe, a minor, by Joe Doe, next best friend." A minor may be sued directly or through the minor's parent or legal guardian.

4C. Businesses
If the party is a business, you must name the proper legal entity. The proper legal entity is determined by how the business is set up. You can contact the Georgia Secretary of Sate at (404) 656-2817 to get information on a corporation. You can also check with the Putnam County Business License Office at (770) 822-7800 to find out who owns a business.

4D. Sole Proprietorships
A sole proprietorship is a business owned by one person which is not in the form of a corporation. The person may are may not use a trade name in the operation of the business. In either case, the proper party is the individual owner. For example "John Doe, individually and d/b/a John's Garage."

4E. Partnerships
A partnership is a business owned by two or more persons which is not in the form of a corporation. The proper parties are the actual partners. For example "John Doe and Jane Doe, individually and d/b/a John's and Jane's Garage."

4F. Corporations
A corporation is a legal entity separate and distinct from its owners. The proper party is the legal name of the corporation. For example "John's Garage, Inc." You can get information on corporations from the Georgia Secretary of State by calling (404) 656-2817. You should determine the correct legal name of the corporation, the county in which its registered office is located, and the name and address of the Registered Agent.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
Can I file my civil case in Magistrate Court?

 

The Magistrate Court is also referred to as the small claims court. You can file a claim for which you are seeking $15,000.00 or less. If your claim exceeds $15,000.00 principal, then the Magistrate Court does not have jurisdiction (the legal authority) to hear your case and it must be filed in another court. This limit applies to both the claim of the Plaintiff and any counterclaims of the Defendant. Interest and court costs do not affect the jurisdictional amount.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
How does the defendant know that he or she is being sued?

 

You must have the Defendant(s) served with a copy of the Statement of Claim. This is ordinarily done by the Sheriff at a charge of $25.00 per Defendant. You may include this payment with the payment of the filing fee to the Clerk of Court who will forward the service fee to the Sheriff.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court General
 
I have the forms, but who can help me fill out the forms?

 

An attorney can fill out the forms for you. Family violence shelters or social service agency staff members designated by the court may explain to all victims not represented by counsel the procedures for filling out and filing all forms and pleadings necessary for the presentation of their petition to the court. The clerk of the court may provide forms for petitions and pleadings to victims of family violence.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
How do I file my civil case?

 

You can file your case by preparing a Statement of Claim with the Clerk of Magistrate Court.

A Statement of Claim form is available at the Magistrate Court Clerk Office, or it can be downloaded from this page. Your claim must set forth the facts, which form the basis of your suit. You do not have to recite all of the evidence that you intend to produce at trial, but you should provide enough information so that the Defendant will know what he or she is being sued for. If you have documents that support your case, you should attach those documents to the Statement of Claim. (For instance attach, invoices, statements of account, contracts, work orders, etc..)

The cost to file a civil claim with the county magistrate is $44.00 for the filing fee, and $25.00 for the claim to be served to the defendant, total of $69.00.

The Sheriff will serve the Defendant a copy of the Statement of Claim. If service is to be made on a Defendant in another county or state, you should obtain a A Second Original@ copy of the Statement of Claim and forward it, along with your payment of service fees, to the Sheriff or another appropriate process server in the other county or state.


 

Cross References
 
Statement of Claim
 
MAG 10-01 DOCUMENT
     
Court Filing Fees
 
MAG 10-08 DOCUMENT
     

 

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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court General
Magistrate Court Jurisdiction

 

Magistrate Court's jurisdiction encompasses civil claims of $15,000 or less, county ordinance violations, applications for and issuance of arrest and search warrants, preliminary hearings, dispossessory writs, and distress warrants. No jury trials are held in this court. Appeals from decisions in landlord, tenant & civil cases are made to the Superior and State courts


 

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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
How much can I sue for?

 

The maximum amount that anyone can sue for in the Magistrate Court is fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000.00).


 

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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
Can I reduce my claim to $15,000 and file it in Magistrate Court?

 

You can limit your claim to $15,000.00, even if you feel that you are owed more than that amount and file your case in Magistrate Court. However, your recovery will be limited to $15,000.00, even if your case is later appealed to a Court which can award more than that amount.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
Can I sue a non-resident of the state of Georgia in a Georgia Magistrate Court?

 
Yes, but it is relatively rare in Magistrate Court. A plaintiff can however sue a non-resident of the state of Georgia if certain legal elements are met.

This type of claim is one that is brought under the statute that is called the "Georgia Long Arm" statute. It is the ability of a Georgia court to exercise jurisdiction over a non-resident of this state. The statute is as follows:

O.C.G.A. 9-10-91. Grounds for exercise of personal jurisdiction over nonresident.

A court of this state may exercise personal jurisdiction over any nonresident or his executor or administrator, as to a cause of action arising from any of the acts, omissions, ownership, use, or possession enumerated in this Code section, in the same manner as if he were a resident of the state, if in person or through an agent, he:

(1) Transacts any business within this state;

(2) Commits a tortuous act or omission within this state, except as to a cause of action for defamation of character arising from the act;

(3) Commits a tortuous injury in this state caused by an act or omission outside this state if the tort-feasor regularly does or solicits business, or engages in any other persistent course of conduct, or derives substantial revenue from goods used or consumed or services rendered in this state;

(4) Owns, uses, or possesses any real property situated within this state; or

(5) With respect to proceedings for alimony, child support, or division of property in connection with an action for divorce or with respect to an independent action for support of dependents, maintains a matrimonial domicile in this state at the time of the commencement of this action or, if the defendant resided in this state preceding the commencement of the action, whether cohabiting during that time or not. This paragraph shall not change the residency requirement for filing an action for divorce.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court General
 
Are there any types of cases which cannot be filed in Magistrate Court?

 

There are certain types of cases which cannot be filed in Magistrate Court, regardless of the amount in recovery being sought. The main types of cases which cannot be filed are divorce and family matters and any case in which the Court would be called upon to decide who is the legal owner of real estate. Also, the Magistrate Court cannot issue an injunction, which is an order directing a party to take some action such as repairing or returning property.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
Where should I file my lawsuit against a non-resident of the state of Georgia?

 
The answer to your question is where is the correct "venue." That is, where should the case be filed.

Venue is defined by O.C.G.A. 9-10-93.

Venue in cases under this article shall lie in any county wherein a substantial part of the business was transacted, the tortious act, omission, or injury occurred, or the real property is located.

Where an action is brought against a resident of this state, any nonresident of this state who is involved in the same transaction or occurrence and who is suable under the provisions of this article may be joined as a defendant in the county where a resident defendant is suable.

Under such circumstances, jurisdiction and venue of the court of and over such nonresident defendant shall not be affected or lost if at trial a verdict or judgment is returned in favor of such resident defendant.

If such resident defendant is dismissed from the action prior to commencement of the trial, the action against the nonresident defendant shall not abate but shall be transferred to a court in a county where venue is proper.



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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
When can I proceed to collect damages in a civil case?

 

If you have received any check for which payment was refused for either lack of funds or no account, you may sue the maker of the check for the amount of the check and, in some instances, additional damages. Civil damages for writing bad checks are provided for and fully set forth in O.C.G.A. 13-6-15.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
What if I file a case in the wrong court?

 

If you file a case in Magistrate Court over which the Court does not have jurisdiction or where venue is improper, the case will be transferred to a court that does have jurisdiction. An order will be entered transferring the case to the appropriate court. The order may contain a requirement that you pay a transfer fee within twenty (20) days. There is no additional fee for transfer of the case to a Magistrate Court in another county. There is a fee for the transfer of a case to State Court or Superior Court. Failure to pay the transfer fee will result in a dismissal of the case.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
What if service of process will be made by someone other than the Sheriff of Putnam County?

 

If service is to be made on a Defendant in another county or state, you should obtain a "Second Original" copy of the Statement of Claim and forward it, along with your payment of service fees, to the Sheriff or another appropriate process server in the other county or state.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
What happens after the defendant is served with the Statement of Claims?

 

The Defendant has thirty (30) days from the date of service to file an Answer with the Court. the date after service is counted as day one. If the thirtieth day falls on a day when the Court is closed (such as a weekend or legal holiday), then the Answer is due on the next day the Court is open.


 

Cross References
 
Answer Counterclaim of Defendant
 
MAG 10-13 DOCUMENT
     
Entry of Appearance
 
MAG 10-14 DOCUMENT
     

 

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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
When will my civil trial be held?

 

The Magistrate Court of Putnam County conducts trials of civil cases every Wednesday Beginning at 10:00am., holidays excepted. Your notice of time will be mailed to you , always provide the county with your proper mailing address.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
The Defendant failed to answer. What is the procedure for receiving a judgment issued in my favor?

 
The time period to file an answer is 30 days. Thereafter the defendant has 15 additional days to open default by filing an answer and paying the court costs to the clerk of court.

If the defendant fails to file an answer, or pay court costs when filing a late answer, the case is said to “be in default.” When that occurs, the court can enter a judgment in the case in favor of the plaintiff.

The Court will review the file and determine if the judgment can be entered automatically, without further evidence or hearing, or whether the court is required to schedule the matter for a default judgment hearing to determine the amount of damages to be awarded, if any.

Damages take two forms, liquidated or unliquidated. A judgment can issued immediately in a properly proved “liquidated damages.” The court is required to conduct a default judgment hearing when the damages are “unliquidated” or when a liquidated damages case has not been properly submitted. We will explain, further.

Generally, “liquidated” or fixed damages such as the amount of money owed on an invoice, credit card account, or contract do not require a default judgment hearing IF the plaintiff attached ALL the necessary documents to prove plaintiff(s) case, such as contracts, statements, invoices, for the exact amount claimed. OCGA 9-11-55 (a): Damages are liquidated when they are an amount certain and fixed, either by the act and agreement of the parties, or by operation of law; a sum which cannot be changed by the proof; it is so much or nothing; and that the term does not necessarily refer to a writing.

When damages are liquidated, a judgment “can” be entered immediately IF the Plaintiff attached, at the time of filing, ALL the necessary documents to prove plaintiff(s) case, such as contracts, statements, invoices, for the exact amount claimed. A mere statement by the plaintiff that a certain amount is owed, by itself, is insufficient to avoid a default judgment trial. Plaintiff(s) seeking to avoid default judgment trials need only to attach ALL the legally required documents to prove their case and serve these documents upon the defendant(s).

“Unliquidated damages” are damages which are uncertain, or which require proof in a courtroom. These types of cases must always be set for a default judgment hearing where the plaintiff has to prove to a preponderance of the evidence the amount owed. Examples of “unliquidated damages” would be an automobile collision or defective workmanship cases.

Recapping – When a Default Judgment Hearing is required:

The Court is required to conduct trials in all cases where: (1) the nature of the damages claimed require a trial, such as an automobile collision, defective construction claims and similar cases; or, (2) the amount of money sought was not properly set forth in the legal manner required to prove “liquidated damages.” See “T.A.I. COMPUTER, INC. vs. CLN ENTERPRISES, INC.”, 237 Ga. App. 646, 516 S.E.2d 340. The plaintiff shall be required to introduce evidence and establish the amount of (monetary) damages with the right of the defendant to introduce evidence as to money owed. The fact of the default alone does not convert the damages into a liquidated claim

The failure of the Plaintiff(s) to attach, at the time of filing, ALL the necessary documents to prove plaintiff(s) case, such as contracts, statements, invoices, for the exact amount claimed, requires the court to conduct a default judgment trial. A statement by the plaintiff(s) that a certain amount is owed, by itself, is insufficient to avoid a default judgment trial. Plaintiff(s) seeking to avoid default judgment trials need only to attach ALL the legally required documents to prove their case and serve these documents upon the defendant(s).

 

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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
I am the Defendant. I have been served with a law suit. What do I need to do?

 
You can submit your Answer in writing to the court. You may prepare your own form or use one of the court's answer forms. Another option is to consult with an attorney. (If you do not have an attorney, see www.gcba.org.)

You must file the Answer within thirty (30) days of being served. (Answers for Landlord Tenant matters must be filed within seven (7) days. The date after service is counted as day one. If the thirtieth day falls on a day when the court is closed (a weekend or legal holiday), the Answer is due on the next day the court is open.

Answers must be “filed” to be legally sufficient. The date of mailing is not the date of filing. If you are close to the deadline for filing your answer, bring your answer to court and file it with the clerk yourself. Do not let an inadvertent delay in mail delivery cause you to waive your legal defenses.

You must serve a copy of the Answer to the Plaintiff by either personal delivery or first class mail. You must complete a certificate of service that is your personal oath that you have mailed a copy of your answer to the plaintiff.

There is no cost to filing an Answer.

On the thirty-first (31) day after service, the case goes into default. However, the Defendant has an additional fifteen (15) days to open the default by filing a late Answer and paying all court cost along with the Answer.

While you “may” file an answer beyond the forty-fifth (45) day following service, such answer may be a legal nullity and void.

You protect your rights by timely filing an answer with the clerk of court.

If you are also contending that the Plaintiff actually owes you money, you should file a counterclaim against the Plaintiff.


 
 

Click to download forms/pages
       
File Name Reference No. Type
Answer & Counterclaim
 
MAG 10-13 Word Perfect
Answer & Counterclaim
 
MAG 10-13 Adobe PDF
Answer & Counterclaim
 
MAG 10-13 Word Document

 

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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
I have been sued, so what can I do now?

 

You must file an Answer with the Court within thirty (30) days of being served. The date after service is counted as day one. If the thirtieth day falls on a day when the Court is closed (a weekend or legal holiday), the Answer is due on the next day the Court is open. You must serve a copy of the Answer on the Plaintiff by either personal delivery or first class mail.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
The party who sued me actually owes me money. What can I do?

 

Along with your Answer, you can file what is called a Counterclaim, which is, essentially, a Statement of Claim filed by the Defendant against the Plaintiff. (See the information on Statements of Claim, above.) If your Counterclaim exceeds the jurisdictional limits of the Magistrate Court, the case will be transferred to a court that does have jurisdiction. Usually the entire case will be transferred. However, there may be some cases where the Plaintiff's claim will remain in Magistrate Court and the Defendant's counterclaim will be transferred separately.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
I missed the time to file an answer, can I file a late answer?

 

On the thirty-first day after service, the case goes into default. However, the Defendant has an additional fifteen days to open the default by filing a late Answer and paying all court costs along with the answer. No Answer may be filed beyond the forty-fifth day following service.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
Can the Defendant file a late answer?

 

On the thirty-first day after service on the Defendant, the case goes into default. However, the Defendant has an additional fifteen days to open the default by filing a late Answer and paying all court costs along with the answer. No Answer may be filed beyond the forty-fifth day following service.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court Civil
 
Is there a cost to filing an answer or a counterclaim?

 

No, court costs are paid by the Landlord when the case is filed. However, the Tenant may be ordered to pay these costs to the Landlord if the Landlord wins his or her case.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

Magistrate Court General
 
How does the plaintiff know that an answer has been filed?

 

The Defendant must serve a copy of the Answer on the Plaintiff. Service of the Answer, and all subsequent pleadings (court filings) may be done by either personal delivery or first class mail.


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Disclaimer
The source of this information may be internal or external to the Putnam County Clerk of Courts. The Putnam County Clerk of Courts makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. The Clerk of Courts makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.

All information stated in this document was provided by the author. Please consult the author with any inquires pertaining to this document.


 

 

 

 

 
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