A small claims action is a civil lawsuit where the Plaintiff is seeking a monetary recovery of $5,000 or less. The $5,000 amount was increased from $2,500 as of October 1, 2003.
In Maryland, all small claims actions must be filed in the State District Court and are decided by a Judge.
While a ruling in a small claims action carries the same weight as any other Judgment, the trial procedure is somewhat different.
For example, to make small claims actions easier to pursue with or without an attorney, the District Court uses “relaxed rules of evidence,” meaning certain rules of evidence are not enforced. Further, affidavits of witnesses are accepted in place of live testimony.
Small Claims Court can be a quick and inexpensive way to resolve disputes.