After the filing of a small claims case, each person or business sued must be served with a Summons and Order to appear in court on the date and time scheduled when the claim was filed. This court date will be a pre-trial conference and parties should be prepared to present their cases in court.
At the pretrial conference mediation is ordered if both parties to the dispute are present and unable to settle their dispute. A mediator acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. Mediation is an informal and non-adversarial process with the objective of helping the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement. In mediation, decision-making authority rests with the parties. Mediation is confidential.
If the dispute cannot be settled at the pre-trial conference, a trial date will be scheduled by the court. The parties must appear at the trial with all witnesses and documentation. At the trial, both parties will have an opportunity to explain the case to the judge, ask the other party any questions concerning the claim, present documentation as discussed at the pre-trial conference, and call witnesses.