Small Claims – Petitioner’s Instructions
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If the defendant denies the claim, you will be notified by mail of the date and time to appear for a
hearing. If you cannot appear at the time set, you must give a good reason in writing to the court at
least 14 days before the hearing date.
If the defendant demands a jury trial, you must file a formal complaint within 20 days after the
court sends you notice to do so. If you don’t, the case will be dismissed and you may have to pay the
defendant’s fees plus a prevailing party fee. Be aware that additional fees will be due from you. You
should see a lawyer. The court does not provide forms or samples of formal complaints.
IF THE DEFENDANT DOES NOT RESPOND
If the defendant does not file a response within 14 days of the date of service, you can ask the court
to grant you a default judgment. This means that you win because the defendant did not respond.
You must file a request for default judgment with the court within 35 days from the date the proof
of service was filed, or your case may be dismissed without notice to you. You may have to re-file
your claim and pay filing fees again if this happens.
For public body defendants – you must send a notice of your intent to apply for default to the
defendant before filing for default. For state agencies you must also send a copy of the notice to the
Attorney General. The court cannot issue a default less than 10 days from the day you serve the
notice on the defendant (and the Attorney General if necessary). You must formally serve this
notice according to Oregon Rule of Civil Procedure 9. You must also file a proof of service with the
Fill out the Motion for Default Judgment & Defendant Status Declaration, and complete
a Small Claim General Judgment. File both with the court clerk. The prevailing party fee is
listed at ORS 20.190
If you request more than 9% post-judgment annual interest, you must provide the court with a
copy of the contract at the time you request a Default Judgment
You must provide a Declaration of Non-Military Service before the court can order a default
judgment. This is part of the Motion for Default Judgment. If the defendant is in active
military service, you cannot get a default judgment unless the servicemember has waived
protection under the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act. This federal law starts at 50 U.S.C. § 3901.
Your local law librarian can help you find it, or go to www.law.cornell.edu
(under Get the Law
click U.S. Code, then click Title 50 and Chapter 50). SCRA does not apply to all military
servicemembers at all times.
If the defendant is in the military, you should see a lawyer before trying to get a default judgment.
If a default is not done properly, the defendant can re-open the case after returning from service.
Be aware that if you knowingly make false statements about the defendant’s status, you may face
both federal and state penalties.
If you know the defendant is not in the military, you must state facts that explain how you know.
Some things that are not supporting facts are: he has long hair, he has problems with authority, she
does drugs, she’s too old, or he is not a U.S. citizen.
If you have the defendant’s Social Security Number or date of birth, you can go to the Department
of Defense’s website at https://scra.dmdc.osd.mil/scra/#/home
to find out if the defendant is in
This is an outside site maintained by Cornell University. The Oregon Judicial Department is not responsible for any
information on this site. Links may have moved.