Small Claims Cases

How to File

A small claim is a case filed only for the recovery of money owed to you and is now available to file online.  After filing online, you must appear in person to pay the filing fee, receive your copy of the documents, and pick up the service packet(s).

District Court is located at the County-City Building
930 Tacoma Ave. S, Room 239
Tacoma, WA 98402

The electronic filing can be completed on any computer with internet access. If you do not have access to a computer, Kiosks are available at the Pierce County Law Library on the 1st floor of the County-City Building.  Visit the online interview process to file a small claims case online.

The amount of money you seek to recover may not exceed $10,000.  The filing fee is $50 and must be made in cash, VISA or Mastercard.  No personal checks are accepted.  New small claims cases are accepted until 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Filing Process

Small claim cases must be filed in the county where the defendant resides or does business.  When filing a small claim the information needed includes the:
  • Name and address of the person, company or corporation being sued
  • Amount owed
  • Date the money became due
  • Reason for the suit
The District Court does not collect the money awarded in a judgment.  Contact an attorney or a collection agency for any questions concerning collection of money.


All small claims cases are set for a mediation hearing with an impartial, third-party mediator.  Witnesses are not allowed at the mediation hearing and attorneys are not allowed to represent either side in small claims.  The litigants prove their cases via statements, contracts, estimates, photographs, etc. Seventy-five percent of the small claims cases are settled at mediation.  Those cases that are not settled through mediation are scheduled for trial.

A Small Claims Information Packet is available in a PDF format.  In order to view the .PDF file, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your system.  You can download the Adobe Acrobat Reader software at no cost.