Small claims cases are handled in the District Court when the parties are claiming damages of $2,500 or less based upon a contract, a retail sale, or service. A small claims case is designed to dispense speedy and final justice. The filing fee for a small claims case is $75.75.
Personal injury cases and cases relating to damages incurred in automobile or other accidents are not heard as a small claims case. The District Court has adopted simple procedures for handling these cases, as well as specifically designed forms (copies are located under forms to the right) that do not require legal training to understand. Many of the normal rules of the District Court Rules of Civil Procedure are suspended to make the process easier and less expensive for the public. However, rules of law are not suspended, rules of evidence do apply, and cases will be decided based upon the correct and appropriate application of existing law.
The clerks in the District Court are not attorneys and they cannot give legal advice. They can provide information but they cannot fill out forms or advise you as to how to handle a case. For more information on small claims filings, The District Court Rules of Small Claims Procedure can be found on the link in the right column of this page.
If you file a small claims case, you can only receive a judgment for money. The court cannot order a person to do something or to stop a person from doing something. For example, the court cannot order a person to move a fence, to stop making noise, or to keep working on your car until the car is repaired properly.
Small claims cases are heard on the following days in the District Court:
Murray Judicial Complex
2nd Division District Court
45 Washington Square
Newport, Rhode Island 02840-2913
Monday 9:00 a.m.
Noel Judicial Complex
3rd Division District Court
222 Quaker Lane
Warwick, Rhode Island 02886-0107
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9:00 a.m.
McGrath Judicial Complex
4th Division District Court
4800 Tower Hill Road
Wakefield, Rhode Island 02879-2239
Monday 9:00 a.m.
Garrahy Judicial Complex
6th Division District Court
One Dorrance Plaza
Providence, Rhode Island 02903-2719
Thursday 1:30 p.m.