My friend DeFeyter, the dutch pugilist, called me the other day to ask about jurisdictional limits. Not that he used that term, of course. His question was something like, “This bum owes me some money. Where do I sue his keyster?”

For a moment, I wondered if my friend was involved in loan-sharking but decided that it was a question better not asked. I told him that we have three different levels of court to sort out money damages. “If it’s less than $3,000,” I let him know, you can sue him in Small Claims Court. “Where’s that?” he asked. “It’s the local court where you pay traffic fines,” I replied, trying to keep it simple. “It’s a division of the civil side of District Court.” He responded with a grunt.

Must be more, I thought. “If it’s more than $3,000 but less than $25,000, it goes to the civil division of District Court.”

What if it’s more than that?” His question seemed reasonable and started me thinking that perhaps this was a case for me to handle.

“Well,” I answered, “more than $25,000 in damages goes to Circuit Court.

Where’s that?” DeFeyter asked.

“Usually at the county seat,” I told him. Here in Ottawa County, that’s Grand Haven.”

“Thanks,” he said. “I think I’ll handle it myself.”

“How much does this guy owe you,” I asked.

“A buck-ninety-five for half the doughnut this morning.”

“Well, at least you didn’t get rolled,” I quipped and hung up.


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