Answer: The defendant’s written response to the lawsuit.
Answer Date: The day the defendant’s response is due to the court.
Application for Waiver of Fees: A form that asks the court to let you file your lawsuit without paying the filing fee.
Clerk’s Office: The place in the courthouse where you can find all the information about your lawsuit.
Counterclaim: When the defendant makes a legal claim against the plaintiff.
Defendant: The person or business that is being sued.
Writ and Notice of Suit: The form used to start a lawsuit. It is also referred to as the Complaint.
Docket Number: The number the court gives the lawsuit for identification and tracking purposes.
Execution: A court order to collect money awarded in court. The plaintiff can collect money from the defendant by taking money out of the defendant’s pay (a wage execution), by putting a lien on the defendant’s property (a property execution), or by taking money out of the defendant’s bank account (a bank execution).
Filing, File: To give the lawsuit to the court.
Filing Fee: The cost of filing a lawsuit in Small Claims Court.
Hearing: When you go to court to argue your case.
Hearing Date: The date the court picks to hold a hearing.
Judgment: The Small Claims Court’s final decision.
Plaintiff: The person who files the lawsuit.
Reopen a lawsuit: To ask the court to look at its decision again. The court will only do this in certain circumstances.
Served, Service, Serve: To give the lawsuit to the person or business you are suing.
Settle: When the plaintiff and the defendant resolve the lawsuit without having a hearing.
Special Defense: When the defendant explains how the plaintiff’s claims are wrong.