How To File A Small Claims Action
Step 1: Identify The Proper Defendant(s)
Step 2: Demand Payment from the Defendant(s)
Step 3: Decide Where to File Your Complaint
Step 4: File A Complaint With The Justice Court
Step 5: Serve The Complaint On All Defendants
Step 6: File Proof Of Service With The Court
Step 7: Go To Your Hearing
Suing an individual is relatively straightforward. Suing a business, however, will require you to determine the true name of the business (as many businesses operate under so-called “fictitious names) and how that business is organized (ie as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, etc).
If the business that you wish to sue is a corporation, you may find out its name and the location of its resident agent from the Secretary of State. A resident agent is a person or business appointed by the corporation to accept service of complaints.
If the defendant is another type of business entity, you may determine the true name of the business by contacting the licensing department where the defendant does business.
City of Las Vegas
(702) 455- 4252
City of Henderson
City of North Las Vegas
For assistance in identifying who to sue, you can sign up for free Small Claims Court classes offered by the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada and UNLV Boyd School of Law.
The small claims complaints are required to contain an allegation that you have demanded payment from the defendant(s). See JCRCP 89 (link). Typically, the demand is satisfied by a certified letter, return receipt requested. The letter should specify what the you want, when you want it and that you intend to sue if you do not get it by a certain date.
Your complaint should be filed in the Justice Court of the township where the defendant(s) currently:
- Does business; or
- Is employed
Small claims matters may be heard in any of the 11 Justice Courts in Clark County :
- Las Vegas Justice Court , 200 Lewis Ave. , Las Vegas , Nevada 89155 (702) 671-4528
- N. Las Vegas Justice Court , 2428 MLK Blvd. , NLV , NV 89032 (702) 455-7801
- Henderson Justice Court , 243 Water St. , Henderson , NV 89015 , (702) 455-7951
- Boulder Justice Court, 505 Avenue G Boulder City , Nevada 89005 (702) 455-8000
- Bunkerville Justice Court, 190 Virgin Street Bunkerville , Nevada 89007 (702) 346-5711
- Goodsprings Justice Court, 1 Main Street , Jean , Nevada 89019 (702) 874-1405
- Laughlin Justice Court, 101 Civic Way Suite 2, Laughlin , Nevada 89029 (702) 298-4622
- Mesquite Justice Court ,500 Hillside Drive, Mesquite , Nevada 89027 (702) 346-5298
- Moapa Justice Court ,1340 East Street , Highway 168 Moapa , Nevada 89025 (702) 864-2333
- Moapa Valley Justice Court, 320 Moapa Valley Boulevard, Overton, Nevada 89040
- Searchlight Justice Court, 1090 Cottonwood Cove Road, Searchlight , Nevada 89046 (702) 297-1252
At the time of filing, you will need to have:
- An original and at two (2) copies of the complaint (the court keeps the original), and
- Payment for your filing fees which will vary depending on the amount of money requested in the affidavit of complaint:
- Claims from $0.00 to $1,000.00 =$66.00
- Claims from $1,000.01 to $2,500.00=$86.00
- Claims from $2,500.01 to $5,000.00=$106.00
- Claims from $5,000.01 to $7,500.00=$146.00
Those who can establish that they are truly unable to pay the costs of filing the action may file a fee waiver application which, if approved, will allow the person to prosecute the action without costs.
Service can be made by any person, other than the Plaintiff, who is over 18 years of age. If you do not know someone who can serve the complaint for you, you may wish to hire a private process server or your township’s constable or sheriff to serve the complaint for you.
Defendants must be served personally or by leaving a copy at their home with a “person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein.” If the defendant is a corporation, its resident agent may be served although service can also be made on its president, secretary or, in certain circumstances, the secretary of state.
If you have tried to serve the defendant(s) but have been unsuccessful, you may file a motion requesting that the court allow you to serve the defendant(s) by certified or registered mail. JCRCP 91.
Please Note: If you do not serve the defendant(s) within 1 year, the complaint is to be dismissed without prejudice. JCRCP 93. If your case is dismissed, you would be required to file a new complaint, along with the required filing fees, if you wanted to sue the defendant(s).
The person who served the complaint must sign an affidavit of declaration stating how, when and on who the complaint was served. The proof of service must show that the complaint was served at least 10 days prior to the hearing date. JCRCP 91
This is your opportunity to explain to the referee (if in Las Vegas Justice Court) or Judge (if in any court other than Las Vegas Justice Court) why you are entitled to the money you requested in your complaint. See How to Represent Yourself In Court for more information about how to prepare for your day in court.