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  Phil G. Giavasis, Clerk of Court    
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Canton Municipal Court Civil Division


The Clerk of Court Civil Division accepts new case filings for civil law suits that do not exceed a claim of $15,000.00. The Clerk of Court accepts the filing of approximately 10,000 new civil cases annually. Claims that exceed $15,000 must be filed in the Court of Common Pleas. Plaintiffs and defendants are not required to be represented by attorneys, but most are. The Clerk does not assign a Judge to a case until an answer (written defense) is filed by the defendant within the statutory 28-day answer period that begins with service of summons. The majority of judgments rendered on regular docket cases are as a result of default (not defended). Historically, only 30% of regular docket civil cases get defended and subsequently adjudicated.

The Civil Division also Administers Small Claim cases, which are subject to a maximum claim of $3,000 and normally plaintiffs and defendants are not represented by counsel. All Small Claims cases are presided over by a Magistrate.

The Court's civil process also includes Forcible Entry and Detainer or Eviction cases. Specifically, landlords or their attorneys file cases to obtain court-ordered eviction from property that allegedly has been unlawfully retained by tenants. Normally the plaintiff's petition alleges non-payment of rent or other violation of lease. Tenants with complaints against landlords may place their rent in escrow with the Clerk of Court. Rent escrow filings usually allege that the landlord has not properly taken care of the property and may even involve issues of health and safety.

Perhaps the busiest function of the Clerk of Court's Civil Division involves post-judgment case collection activity. Employees process hundreds of garnishments of personal earnings through wage and bank attachments, and execution of personal property. Court-ordered, as well as voluntary judgment payment amounts to well over $2,000,000 annually.

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