This blog is a continuation of a series published earlier entitled, “What You Should Know about Clark County's Courts”. I won't repeat the basic attributes of Washington state Small Claims, District Courts, and Superior Courts, nor reiterate the essential details of the Washington MAR system, but please feel free to take a moment and click here to start with the initial blog of this series, which describes Clark County's courts. Rather, this blog will address differences that are unique to Skamania County's courts.
Also, as I did in the Clark County Courts blog, I'll begin this one with several necessary disclaimers: This blog won't endeavor to address the tactics of making a choice as to which court within Skamania County's court system would be best for the filing of any given tort claim. Likewise, this blog won't cover venue or jurisdiction considerations. Finally, it won't address federal court options. Rather, this blog will merely offer some basic information about the three Skamania County state court divisions that provide different filing options for persons pursuing a monetary recovery with regard to a tort claim.
For perspective purposes, Skamania County's population is about 2.5 percent that of Clark County, Washington, and roughly 1.5 percent that of Multnomah County, Oregon.
Small Claims Court: According to the Skamania County small claims court website, the Skamania County small claims division has a jurisdictional limit of $5,000. In Skamania County, the Small Claims Court filing fee is $35. To initiate a Skamania County Small Claims Court action, you may call at the number listed below for Skamania County District Court or contact the staff in person at the counter in Skamania County District Court on the 3rd floor of the courthouse in Stevenson.
Skamania County District Court: Like in Clark County, the jurisdictional limits for Skamania County District Court are $100,000. There is, as of the date of this blog's publication, one Skamania County District Court judge, and the “new case” filing fee in Skamania County District Court for tort and contract claims is $73.
Skamania County Superior Court: Like in Clark County, there are no jurisdictional limits for filing a case in Skamania County Superior Court; that is, any monetary amount may be sought. There is as of the date of this blog's publication, one Skamania County Superior Court judge. The “new case” filing fee (including any judicial surcharges) in Skamania County Superior Court for tort and contract claims is $240 [see Clerk's Fee Schedule].
MAR: Skamania County's Superior Court has an MAR program which operates similarly to that of Clark County Superior Court, except that, at least as of the date this blog was written, cases may only be transferred into mandatory arbitration in Skamania County Superior Court if the party seeking relief is willing to limit the amount of damages being sought to $50,000 or less (according to a staff person at the Skamania County Superior Court Clerk's Office though, review is anticipated that may result in Skamania County's MAR jurisdictional limit amount being raised from $50,000 to $100,000 next year, that is in 2020). The Skamania County Superior Court fee to transfer a case into MAR is $220.
Appeals: Appeals from Skamania County Superior Court are taken to the Court of Appeals, Division II, just as they are from Clark County Superior Court.
If you have any questions about which court to file your case in, seeking the advice of an experienced attorney familiar with the courts under consideration would be a wise thing to do.
Skamania County District Court contact information:
Skamania County Superior Court contact information: