Informative Articles – Small Claims Actions in Puerto Rico
Last week I was attending court proceedings at the Vieques Courthouse on an injunction case. While waiting for our case to be called, I saw some publications by the Administration of the Courts of Puerto Rico on various subjects related to the filing and prosecution of certain claims. As a public service to you, I collected some of those issues and began the process of having them translated to Englihs for publication in this Blog.
The credit for the publication goes to the Puerto Rico Cour Administration. I am very glad that they undertook the effort to inform the public on their rights and on how to prosecute claims to protect them. Accordingly, I decided to promote and support their effort by publishing their materials in this blog. I am sure that they will not mind, and I hope you find this information useful.
Please contact us if you need mre information on any of these subjects.
Santiago F. Lampón
A person can initiate a judicial claim or debt collection lawsuit when he or she is owed a detemined amount of money and the payment period agreed upon has expired. The following must be on the record:
1. Name, physical & postal address of debtor.
2. Name, physical & postal address of claimant
or the legal representative’s address.
3. The nature of the debt (why the money is owed, and for what).
4. The exact quantity owed and that which is claimed to be collected.
5. Before going to Court, the petitioner must have done all necessary procedures to collect the debt, and declare it as done on record.
If the amount indebted is five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) or less, without interest, the person can opt to file filing a debt collection suit under the Puerto Rico Rules of CivilProcedures #60 in the Municipal Court where the debtor resides. Such rule provides for a summary proceeding. The Court will notify the respondent the nature of the claim with a citation, which will take place on the closest date, but never before the 15 days of the notification to the respondent.
When the claim is more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), the suit must be filed at the Superior Court where the respondent resides. The debt collection procedure is procured in the following manner: A copy of the claim should be delivered to the respondent by a person who has no interest in the outcome of the litigation.
It is always advised to consult a lawyer before taking any cause of action to court, because the type of action or appeal depends on the specific circumstances of each case. An example of this is being owed rental payments which could lead to an eviction action.
The parties in controversy or dispute can attend the Conflict Mediation Center, if they so wish to resolve the affair in a conciliatory manner without the formalities of a judicial litigation. Individuals that apply for this service must be, preferably, residents of the Judicial Area where the Conflict Mediation Center is located.
Reproduced by the Office of the Press and Relations with the Community and the Court Administration
Rev. February 2005
* This is a translation of a material created, printed and published by the Puerto Rico Court Administration. The translation was made as literal as possible in order to protect the rights of the author. Lampón & Associates, ViequesLaw.com and/or SLG Law Group PSC do not claim any copyrights to this material. All copyrights to this publication rest with the Puerto Rico Court Administration.