Which Court Will Your Lawsuit Be In?
Robinson & Henry Civil Litigation Team Lead Joe Novak provides a terrific explanation of Colorado’s civil courts. If you’re considering filing a lawsuit, this video explains in which court your case will likely land.
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The Three Courts
Colorado civil courts are broken up into three main levels. There’s small claims court, then there’s County Court, and then there’s District Court. Generally speaking, the level of the court you litigate the lawsuit in is determined by the amount of money at issue in the case.
Level 1: Small Claims Court
If you are suing another party for less than $7,500, you’ll want to file that case in small claims court. Generally speaking, attorneys are not allowed in small claims court. That is for lay people to handle their own cases without attorney involvement.
Level 2: County Court
This is for civil cases that have damages of less than $25,000. County court is what we call an expedited form of litigation. The idea behind county court is that they don’t want people like you to pay attorneys like us $15,000 to get you a $10,000 judgment because that’s no benefit. So county court is intended to be a streamlined form of litigation. There’s a lot less discovery, and there’s a lot less disputes, which is what causes the attorney fees to raise.
Decisions from the county court can be appealed directly to the district court. County court does allow for jury trials, and it does allow for some limited discovery if the parties request it. Discovery is generally document exchanges or depositions where one party might have to answer questions under oath.
Level 3: District Court
District court is also for civil cases. Any lawsuit that is seeking more than $25,000 in damages will be filed here. District court is more traditional litigation in that it usually takes anywhere between nine and 15 months to schedule a trial. There is full-blown discovery, which means the parties are expected to exchange documents and information, and then the parties can also additionally request further information and take these depositions. District court also allows for jury trials as well as bench trials. (Bench trials are just a trial before the judge.) Any appeal from the district court will be appealed up to the appellate court.
If you have any questions about County Court, District Court, or even Small Claims Court, please feel free to reach out to Robinson & Henry at 303-688-0944, we do free 30 minute case assessments. Set up an assessment with our firm and we’ll be happy to answer any of those questions. Thank you.