Iowa Small Claims Court

Statutes: Iowa Annotated Statutes, Title 15, Subtitle 3, Ch. 631, Sections 1-17.

Dollar Limit: $5,000.

Where To Sue: Where defendant resides or injury occurred. Corporation resides where it has an office or agent.

Service: Certified mail with return receipt; personal service by peace officer or court- approved disinterested adult (except in eviction suits).

Hearing Date: Defendant must appear within 20 days; hearing set within 5-20 days thereafter.

Attorneys: Allowed.

Transfer: If defendant counterclaims for more than $5,000, case tried under regular civil procedure of District Court.

Appeals: By either side for review of law, not facts; to District Court within 20 days.

Special Provisions: No equitable relief. No jury trial. Resident defendants have 20 days and nonresidents have 60 days to answer or lose by default. Written pleadings not required. Court may order installment payments.

Note: This section outlines the special rules that apply to the small claims courts of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Filing fees are not listed because they vary greatly and change frequently. Because court rules may change at any time, always check with the clerk of the small claims court to verify the accuracy of the information given for your state.