LAD's workshops on small claims court grow in popularity

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Legal Aid and Defender Association, Inc.’s workshop on small claims court Aug. 14 at Southfield Public Library attracted more than 100 people, the largest attendance since LAD began conducting workshops on the subject in April.

“The growing popularity of our workshops shows there’s a growing number of people in the community who are attempting to resolve legal disputes in small claims court,” Michele Hall, deputy chief counsel of LAD’s Civil Law Group, said. “These workshops are part of our new broad-based advocacy initiative designed to educate the community regarding their legal rights and remedies.”

Small claims court is a judicial process in district courts for settling money disputes of $3,000 or less. The limit will be raised to $5,000 in September. LAD’s workshops are designed to teach residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties how to represent themselves in the courts and collect money judgments.

Although parties to small claims actions cannot be represented by attorneys, LAD encourages them to consult with an attorney before going to court, according to Nicole Goodson, staff attorney in LAD’s Oakland County office in Pontiac, who conducted the Aug. 14 workshop.

Guest speaker Megan McCoy, civil mediation program coordinator for the Oakland Mediation Center (www.mediation-omc.org/), explained how attendees could use mediation as an alternative to filing suit in small claims court.

LAD conducted three workshops on small claims court during the spring, then scheduled three more for the summer based on their popularity. The Aug. 14 workshop was the second in the summer series. The third will be held Tuesday, Sept. 18 at Sterling Heights Public Library, 40255 Dodge Park Road, Sterling Heights.

 Registration for the Sept. 18 workshop will begin at 5:30 p.m. The workshop will begin promptly at 6 p.m. and run to 8 p.m. For further information, contact Gina Polley, deputy chief counsel of LAD’s Civil Law Group, at (313) 967-5638 or GPolley@ladadetroit.org.

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