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What are Arizona Small Claims Cases and Class Action Lawsuits?

In Arizona, small claims are filed to recover monies and properties involving $3,500 or less. There are no appeals, no juries, and no attorneys needed in a small claims action. The justice court handles small claims such as assault and battery, drunk driving cases, evictions, contract disputes, and boundary disputes. Any individual, partnership, association, or corporation can file a complaint in the justice court where the defendant resides, as provided by A. R. S. 22–202.

A class action in Arizona is a type of lawsuit or legal proceedings that has to do with many petitioners (employees, consumers, investors, or patients) taking on legal action. Furthermore, the class action lawsuit vocalizes corresponding claims against a defendant in a bid to restore parity and get a settlement. In several cases, class action lawsuits are used to settle matters relating to; defective products, security frauds, misleading adverts, defective drugs, financial crimes, and environmental hazards.

What is a Class Action Lawsuit in Arizona?

In Arizona, class action lawsuits are litigation filed for the benefit of many individuals against a defendant whose service or product has caused harm, brought about injuries or discomfort either due to circumstances about adverts, violations, frauds, or defective products. Filing a class action lawsuit in Arizona will require proper adherence to specific rules. The class action lawsuit must;

  • Define the class, the claims, the issues, and the defense.
  • Appoint adequate legal representation.
  • Ensure to protect the interest of the class.
  • Have the same questions of law or facts.

How do I File a Claim in an Arizona Small Claims Court?

Parties that want to file for small claims in Arizona must file the necessary forms. These forms are available online and should be filed at the court where the defendant lives upon completion, following A. R. S. § 22–202. The petition will contain;

  • The complete name of the defendant and plaintiff.
  • A written document stating that the court has legal jurisdiction over the subject matter
  • A concise and factual basis of each claim

Filling a complaint attracts a filing fee of $73 in cases where the amount in controversy is more than $50. After filing the small claims form, the plaintiff will serve the petition to the defendant. After this, the court chooses a date for hearing and judgment. The defendant and the plaintiff may employ the use of an attorney on mutual agreement only. There is no right to jury or appeal for small claims cases.

Do I Need a Small Claims Lawyer?

Arizona civil law restricts the involvement of lawyers in small claims cases, except under special conditions. According to Arizona Revised Statute 22–512, no lawyer shall be a part of any aspect of processing a small claims case in a court of law including, prosecution, defense, and filing, unless both parties in the case agree in writing to involve attorneys in any part of the process. If both parties do not agree to include lawyers in the case, no side can be represented in any part of the legal process by legal counsel. Nevertheless, an attorney can increase the chances of a client winning the suit or at least mitigating the damages from the suit.

How do Class Action Lawsuits Work in Arizona?

A class-action lawsuit starts by filing a complaint at the court. The person who files the complaint and initiates the complaint is the lead plaintiff, and the group of people who have suffered the injury and are seeking recompense is referred to as “a class.” The complaint has to detail the damage suffered by the plaintiffs and exhibit the role of the defendant in causing the injury. The plaintiff must also state the form of redress desired from the defendant. After filing the petition and the court accepts the case, the plaintiff must serve a copy of the complaint to the defendant along with a summons, with evidence of the receipt presented to the court. The defendant must file a response to the complaint, either admitting or denying the allegations. The plaintiff and the defendant will exchange information to reinforce the stance which either party presents to the court.

The case will be tried before a jury, which will render a verdict according to the evidence before the court. The party which loses the suit can appeal the decision given at the court to a court of higher jurisdiction. In this case, the Arizona Court of Appeals. If the defendant is guilty, the defendant will agree to a settlement with the plaintiff. If the compensation is monetary, all the plaintiffs in the class action will receive a portion of the settlement amount. A class action can take a varying amount of time to settle, and it can take from as little as a year to several years to settle.

Is a Class Action Better Than a Single Party Suit?

A class-action lawsuit resolves a similar claim of a large number of people at the same time in a process, effectively disposing off a large complaint from many people, which would take up much time to address individually. A class-action lawsuit is not remarkably better than a single party suit, but it is the best legal action to settle some special legal disputes. Attempting to use a single party suit in such a situation in which a class action will be more effective can be detrimental to the plaintiff as the cost of the claim can outweigh the benefit. In some cases, class action lawsuits can be more successful than single party filings.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the document or person involved

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party websites may vary.

What Cases are Heard by Small Claims Courts in Arizona?

Small claims cases are heard at the justice courts in Arizona. The justice courts are trial courts of limited jurisdiction with the legal authority to preside over some civil and criminal cases under Title 22 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. The jurisdiction of the justice courts cover:

  • Small Civil Proceedings: These lawsuits do not allege criminal actions but seek recompense for some injury suffered. The civil proceedings heard in the justice courts include suits in which the amount in dispute is less than $10,000, small claims cases, landlord-tenant issues, and breach of contract cases.
  • Criminal Proceedings: The criminal proceedings are offenses against the state. The justice courts have the jurisdiction to hear criminal cases that do not rank as felonies. Examples are assault & battery, DUIs, and underage drinking.
  • Traffic Law Violations: These refer to behavior or action that flout the state of Arizona’s traffic laws. This can include offenses such as running a red light and speeding. The justice courts hear all traffic law violation cases.
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