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Oklahoma Small Claims Courts

Oklahoma's small claims courts hear certain civil disputes that do not exceed $10,000. The District Court's small claims division handles such cases. The small claims court allows litigants to resolve their disputes in a manner that's quick and inexpensive when compared to a district court case.

The following links provide information about Oklahoma's small claims court:

This article provides information about Oklahoma's small claims court rules and procedures. For more information, consider contacting a civil litigation attorney near you.

Oklahoma Small Claims Court Explained

Oklahoma's small claims court provides a quick and efficient avenue for people to resolve civil cases or disputes. Most small claims cases are resolved within 60 days of the lawsuit's filing. For comparison, most cases filed in the district court take over a year to resolve.

The small claims court may award up to $10,000 in a single case. This amount does not include court costs and attorney's fees.

The small claims court has limited jurisdiction. This means it can only hear certain types of claims. The small claims court can decide the following civil actions:

The small claims court cannot hear the following types of cases:

Oklahoma designed its small claims court process to allow the parties to resolve their disputes without hiring an attorney. However, the parties can hire an attorney if they so desire.

Any adult can file a claim in the small claims court. A minor's parent or guardian can file a small claims case on their behalf. Businesses and corporations may also file small claims actions.

You cannot file a small claims lawsuit if you are in jail or prison. Collection agencies also cannot file small claims cases.

How To Begin a Small Claims Case

The plaintiff (the person or entity filing a lawsuit) begins their small claims case by demanding payment or property from the defendant. This is an important step that precedes the actual filing of the small claims case.

The plaintiff may make the demand in writing. The demand may include a brief description of the dispute, the amount of money or the specific property the plaintiff believes the defendant owes them, and the legal basis for their claims.

Assuming the plaintiff does not receive the demanded relief, they may file a claim with the small claims court. To do so, they must file a small claims affidavit with the court clerk. The affidavit is available at the court clerk's office. An example of the affidavit is available online.

The affidavit states the following information:

  • The names and addresses of all the plaintiffs and defendants
  • The amount of money the plaintiff claims the defendant owes them or a description of the property the plaintiff claims the defendant must return to them
  • The legal basis underlying the plaintiff's claim(s) against the defendant(s)

The plaintiff must pay a filing fee when they file their affidavit. The fee amount varies from $58 to $206.64, depending on the plaintiff's claimed amount. If you cannot afford the filing fee, you may ask the judge to waive the fee. To do so, you may have to file a Pauper's Affidavit.

If the plaintiff's claim exceeds $1,500, they may request a jury trial.

Once the plaintiff pays the filing fee, the court will set a court date on the small claims docket. The clerk will often schedule the small claims court hearing within 10 to 30 days of the filing date.

Any party to the lawsuit may request a court reporter for the small claims hearing. The parties cannot appeal the small claims court's judgment unless a court reporter records the proceedings. The court will charge a $50 fee for the court reporter's services.

Where and When To File a Small Claims Case

The plaintiff must file their small claims affidavit in an appropriate venue, often the county where the defendant resides. They may have to file in one of the following counties, depending on their case's circumstances:

  • In a contract dispute, where the parties formed the contract or where the alleged breach occurred
  • In a personal injury or property damage case, where the injury or damage occurred
  • In a landlord-tenant dispute, where the property at issue is located

In general, plaintiffs must file their civil case within a certain period called the statute of limitations. Failing to file within this time limit prevents the court from hearing the case. State law sets the statute of limitations for each claim, and the time limits vary. Read FindLaw's article on Oklahoma's Civil Statute of Limitations for more information.

Serving the Defendant

Once the plaintiff files their small claims affidavit and pays the filing fee, they must ensure the defendant receives notice of the lawsuit. This means the plaintiff must ensure the defendant receives all relevant court forms and filings. The following describes the options they have for ensuring proper service:

  • They may contact the sheriff's office and pay them a $50 fee to personally serve the defendant.
  • They may hire a private process server to serve the defendant. Private process servers will charge fees to serve the defendant.
  • The plaintiff may have the clerk send the forms via certified mail. The court clerk can provide more information about this method and applicable fees.

The plaintiff must ensure all defendants receive notice at least seven days before the scheduled hearing. Failing to serve every defendant will result in delays in your case.

If the plaintiff tries a method that fails, they can attempt to serve the defendant a second time via an Alias Order. The plaintiff may request an Alias Order from the judge presiding over their case.

Responding to a Small Claims Case

A defendant who receives notice of a small claims case filed against them does not need to respond. Instead, they just need to attend the scheduled small claims hearing.

If the defendant has claims against the plaintiff, they may file a counterclaim. The defendant must file the counterclaim at least three days before the scheduled hearing. They must also serve the counterclaim on all parties to the case.

The counterclaim cannot exceed $10,000. The defendant must pay a $20 filing fee when they file their counterclaim. If the case involves a landlord trying to evict a tenant, the tenant cannot file a counterclaim.

A defendant may request to remove the case to the district court. There is a $50 filing fee to remove the case. Parties to a district court case may want to contact a civil litigation attorney for legal advice.

Before the Hearing

The parties may settle their case any time before trial. If they settle, they must inform the court clerk immediately.

If the parties do not settle, they should prepare for trial. This may include securing witnesses to testify at trial. It may also include gathering relevant documents, such as leases or contracts. If the case involves property damage, they may want to ensure they have copies of any relevant photographs to submit as evidence at the hearing.

A party may issue a subpoena if a potential witness makes it known they will not willingly appear to testify. A subpoena is a court order requiring someone to appear at the hearing or to produce certain information.

The Small Claims Court Hearing

All parties should plan on attending the small claims court hearing. The court may enter a default judgment in the plaintiff's favor if the defendant fails to appear. In that case, the plaintiff will likely win the case and receive their claimed relief.

If the plaintiff fails to appear, the court may dismiss the case. If the defendant filed a counterclaim, the court may enter a default judgment in their favor.

At the small claims court hearing, the plaintiff will present their case first. They must prove the defendant is liable for the requested relief. They may present an opening argument, introduce evidence, and call witnesses to testify. When the plaintiff finishes presenting their case, the defendant will have an opportunity to present theirs.

The judge will consider the evidence and issue an opinion. They may do so in the courtroom or issue their judgment at a later date.

Enforcing a Judgment

The small claims court judgment is not an order to pay. It determines who won the case and who owes whom money or property but does not order them to act.

The judgment creditor is the person who prevails and is owed money or property. The person or entity that loses and owes money or property is the judgment debtor. The judgment creditor is responsible for ensuring the debtor pays or returns the property to them. The court is not responsible for ensuring payment or the return of property.

The judgment creditor and debtor may communicate how the debtor may satisfy the judgment. If they cannot reach an agreement or the debtor cannot afford to pay, the judgment creditor has several options:

  • The judgment creditor may request the debtor answer interrogatories about their assets. Your local courthouse offers sample interrogatory forms. It may cost up to $126.64 to file and serve interrogatories.
  • The judgment creditor may request the court issue a writ of execution. This allows the sheriff to seize specific property from the judgment debtor. The sheriff's office then sells the property at an auction. They send the money to the court, and the court distributes it to the judgment creditor to satisfy the judgment. The court and sheriff's office will charge fees up to $126.64 for the writ of execution.
  • The judgment creditor may request to garnish the judgment debtor's wages or bank accounts. A writ of garnishment may require the judgment debtor's employer to withhold some wages from each paycheck until the judgment is satisfied.

A judgment creditor may need to hire an attorney to enforce a judgment in their favor. The procedures for enforcing a judgment are relatively complex. Contact a civil litigation attorney for help enforcing a judgment.


Parties may only appeal a small claim court's decision if they requested a court reporter to record the proceeding. The Supreme Court of Oklahoma reviews all appeals.

Parties that appeal the small claims court's judgment must follow all Supreme Court rules of procedure. They may want to hire an attorney to help with their appeal.

Still Have Questions About Small Claims Court in Oklahoma? Contact an Attorney

Although parties to a small claims case in Oklahoma do not have to hire an attorney, the court allows them to do so. Consider contacting an experienced civil litigation attorney near you for legal advice in your small claims case.

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