If the defendant has been sued in district court for less than the jurisdictional limits of a small claims case, and if the plaintiff agrees, the defendant can have the case removed-or transferred-from the district court to a justice court and tried as a small claims case. If this is to be done, it has to be done within the time that the defendant has to answer the complaint in district court.
- The first step is to see whether the plaintiff agrees to have the case tried as a small claims case. The defendant cannot remove a case unless the plaintiff agrees.
- The second step is to file the notice of removal in the justice court and pay the appropriate filing fee to the justice court. The defendant must pay the filing fee that the plaintiff would have paid for a small claims case. The plaintiff does not get a refund of the district court filing fee, but there is no fee if the plaintiff wants to appeal the small claims decision.
- The third step is to file a notice of removal in the district court. This must be done after the notice of removal in the justice court because the defendant must provide to the district court the case number from the justice court.
All three steps must be completed within the time that the defendant has to answer the complaint in district court: 20 days after service if served in Utah; and 30 days after service if served outside of Utah. When these steps are complete, the district court will send a copy of the court's records to the justice court. The case can be removed to a justice court whose jurisdiction is:
- in the judicial district in which the civil case is pending;
- and -
- where the defendant resides; or
- where the events happened.
Once the case is removed to justice court, the court will schedule the case for trial, and the case will proceed as any other small claims case in that court. If the defendant wants to appeal the small claims decision, they will have to pay the appropriate filing fees. If the plaintiff wants to appeal the decision, they do not.