Generally, the judge's decision will be announced at the end of a small claims trial. The court clerk should give you an order at the conclusion of your case if the judgment is in your favor. However, sometimes the judge will want to take additional time to review the evidence or research case law before entering a final judgment. When this occurs, the parties will receive a copy of the final judgment in the mail.
If the judgment is in your favor and you receive payment, you must sign and give to the other party an order to satisfy which the other party must file with the court clerk to end the case.
If you don't receive satisfaction within 30 days, you may execute on the judgment. This means you may take action through the sheriff's office. The cost of execution will be returned to you if and when you collect on your claim.
Either side may appeal the judgment and request a new trial within 30 days. The defendant has 30 days to appeal or to satisfy the judgment. Appeals aren't easy, so you may want to get an attorney before you take this route. If the plaintiff wins by default, the defendant may file a petition to open if there is a valid reason for missing the hearing.
An appeal isn't another trial in a different court. Appellate courts don't do trials, they just review trial court decisions.
Appeals are done entirely on paper. The appellate court reviews a copy of the trial court file. Even if you believe there's some fact, document or witness that should be considered but wasn't presented to the trial court, you won't be able to bring these up. You're stuck with the existing court record and you may not add anything to it.
Questions for Your Attorney
- Do I need to have an attorney to file an appeal?
- If my case is remanded does that mean I get a new trial?
- How long does it generally take to get the judge's decision by mail if the judgment wasn't announced at the trial?