Descriptive Transcript of Video: Overview of Small Claims Cases in Vermont

(Visual: A thin purple line stretches horizontally across the screen.)

(Visual: A man in a shirt with a green collar and a blue vest appears from the waist up. He is facing to the right, where a large blue skyscraper appears. In between them a stack of money appears, green bills with dollar signs and a stack of coins.)

Female Narrator: Do you think a person or a business owes you money?

(Visual: The images slide away and disappear, and a woman in a dark blue skirt and a light blue top appears. She is standing with her arms folded across her chest.)

(Visual: To the right of the woman’s head, a brown briefcase appears in a white circle with a purple shadow.)

Female Narrator: Maybe your employer didn’t pay you for the work that you did.

(Visual: The woman and the briefcase slide to the left, and a woman slides in on the right, in a black skirt and a red top, standing with one hand on her hip. A white circle with a purple shadow appears to the right of her head. In the circle is a yellow key.)

Female Narrator: Or your old landlord never paid back your security deposit.

(Visual: The woman in the red top slides into the middle, and the man with the green collared shirt and blue vest slides in on the right. He stands with one hand on his hip. To the right of his head, a white circle with a purple shadow appears. Inside the circle, a hand holds a dollar bill above an outstretched hand.)

Female Narrator: Maybe you loaned someone money, and you haven’t seen a dime.

(Visual: The three people slide into the middle, and disappear. A spinning yellow disk flies into the foreground. There is an arrow in the centre of both sides of the disk. As the disk comes to rest in the centre of the screen, “$5K or less” appears in the centre of the disk in place of the arrow. A gleam runs across the disk as it comes to rest.)

Female Narrator: If you think you’re owed five thousand dollars or less,

$5K or less

(Visual: The text appears in purple beneath the yellow disk.)

Female Narrator: Small claims court can help.

Small claims court

(Visual: The disk and text disappear, and the plaintiff, a man in a yellow t-shirt, appears from the waist up, with his arms folded across his chest.)

(Visual: The man slides to the left, and a Roman-style courthouse, white, with many columns, and a peaked roof, appears to the right.)

Female Narrator: Many people represent themselves in small claims court.

(Visual: The courthouse disappears, and a grey rectangular computer window appears in its place. It has a dark purple bar across the top, and a white oblong search bar in the centre. In the search bar, the website address is written. A purple mouse arrow pointer flies in from the right, with motion trails, clicks on the website address, and flies out.)

Female Narrator: They follow the steps on our website,

vtlawhelp.org

(Visual: A man in a black suit and a red tie appears on the right, overlapping the computer window. He has one hand on his hip.)

Female Narrator: and they don’t hire a lawyer.

(Visual: The man in the suit stretches his other hand out towards the plaintiff.)

Female Narrator: But you can hire one if you want to.

(Visual: The lawyer and the search bar disappear. Inside the computer window, a purple list of steps appears- Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, Step 4, Step 5, Step 6, Step 7. Next to each step is a bar, and some have a “completed” circle beside them. A highlight of light purple scrolls down the steps, highlighting them one at a time.)

Female Narrator: Our small claims roadmap will show you how to start a case in small claims court,

(Visual: A brown rubber stamp flies in from the right, and stamps a purple circle with a white checkmark inside on the top right corner of the computer window, then flies out again.)

Female Narrator: and how to give yourself the best chance of success.

(Visual: The images disappear, and a yellow disk spins upwards, with arrows on both sides. As it comes to rest, the words, “more than $5K” appear in place of the arrow, and a gleam runs across the surface of the disk.)

Female Narrator: If you’re asking for more than five thousand dollars,

more than $5K

(Visual: The yellow disk moves left. As the disk comes to rest on the far left, a pair of papers rolled into a scroll shape appear overlapping each other on the right. At the top of the paper sitting behind and slightly left, the words, “Don’t lock me out!” appear. On the paper in front, the title reads, “Return my stuff!” in purple. Both papers are covered in purple lines representing text under the titles.)

Female Narrator: or you want something other than money,

(Visual: The papers disappear, and a Roman-style courthouse, white, with many columns and a peaked roof, appears in their place. Beneath the images, text appears in purple.)

Female Narrator: small claims court can’t help you.

Small claims court

(Visual: The images disappear, but the text stays. The yellow disk spins and moves to the right. On the left side of the screen, a green bicycle appears, with a blue laptop sitting in front of it.)

Female Narrator: Maybe you want someone to return your property,

(Visual: The yellow disk spins once and moves into the centre. Three figures appear to the right, a woman in a dark blue skirt and light blue top with her arms folded, a man in a green collared shirt and blue vest, and a man in a yellow t-shirt with his arms folded.)

Female Narrator: or stop violating your rights.

(Visual: The purple text at the bottom, “small claims court” with a strikethrough, disappears.)

(Visual: The text, “Superior Court” appears with a green checkmark beside it.)

Female Narrator: In those situations, you need to start a case in Superior Court.

Superior Court

(Visual: A thin purple line stretches horizontally across the screen. Above it, the text appears in purple.)

Female Narrator: For example, these would not be small claims cases:

These would NOT be small claims cases:

(Visual: The text disappears, and the line moves down to the bottom of the screen. A light blue four-door car appears. The text appears beneath the image. A man in a red shirt and black shorts appears beside the car, and stands with his hand on his hip.)

Female Narrator: Your friend borrowed your car, and you want it back. But they won’t return it.

Small claims court

(Visual: The man and the car disappear, and a man in a black t-shirt riding an orange ATV appears, driving quickly along a brown fence, driving on green grass.)

Female Narrator: You want a neighbour to stop driving their ATV across your property,

Small claims court

(Visual: The man and the ATV disappear, and an open yellow refrigerator appears. The fridge has bottles and packages of various sizes and colours. A woman in purple shorts and an orange shirt stands next to the fridge, eating from a container.)

Female Narrator: or you want a roommate who eats all your food to move out of your home.

Small claims court

(Visual: A stack of three green bills with dollar signs on them appear, and a stack of yellow coins flies in and comes to rest in front of the bills.)

Female Narrator: Small claims cases are only for disputes about money,

(Visual: A spinning yellow disk flies into the foreground. There is an arrow in the centre of both sides of the disk. As the disk comes to rest in the centre of the screen, “$5K or less” appears in the centre of the disk in place of the arrow. A gleam runs across the disk as it comes to rest on the pile of money, which disappears.)

Female Narrator: where the amount in dispute is five thousand dollars or less.

$5K or less

Female Narrator: Here’s how it works:

(Visual: The disk slides away, and a manila envelope with a sticker on it with the word “Complaint” in red slides up on the left. A Roman-style courthouse, white, with many columns, and a peaked roof, appears to the right. The manila envelope shrinks and flies inside the courthouse, and disappears.)

Female Narrator: First, you file your small claims complaint form with the court.

(Visual: A yellow paper grows out of the top of the courthouse, and scrolls down until it hits the thin purple line, and then it bounces up, and back down again, and up and down, continuing to unfurl. The paper is covered with purple lines representing text, and the title “Complaint” at the top.)

(Visual: A purple pen appears to the right of the piece of paper.)

Female Narrator: A complaint is a written statement of what you want from the court,

(Visual: The pen slides down and away, and the courthouse and paper shrink down. A white circle with a purple shadow appears to the left of the courthouse, with the head and shoulders of a man in a green dress shirt and blue vest appears.)

(Visual: Above the courthouse, a small brown building with a sign on the roof reading “Store” appears in a white circle with a purple shadow. To the right of this circle, a third circle appears, with a blue skyscraper inside.)

Female Narrator: and the other person, business, or organization.

(Visual: The images and paper disappear into the courthouse, and a pile of money, bills and coins, appears in front of the courthouse.)

Female Narrator: You must pay a filing fee to the court.

(Visual: Behind the money, a computer window with the heading, “Bank Account” “Available Funds” has a slider filled with green. As the money fades away the green in the slider moves down and is replaced almost entirely by red.)

(Visual: A very long yellow paper runs down over the “Bank Account” window. The paper is covered in purple lines representing text. The paper bounces when it hits the thin purple line along the bottom the screen, and keeps scrolling up and bouncing down, getting longer and longer.)

Female Narrator: But if you can’t afford it, you can apply to waive the fee.

(Visual: The images disappear, and a Roman-style courthouse, white, with many columns and a peaked roof appears.)

(Visual: A white circle with a purple shadow appears to the left of the courthouse, with the head and shoulders of a man in a green dress shirt and blue vest appears.)

(Visual: Above the courthouse, a small brown building with a sign on the roof reading “Store” appears in a white circle with a purple shadow. To the right of this circle, a third circle appears, with a blue skyscraper inside.)

Female Narrator: Then you serve your complaint to the other person, business, or organization,

(Visual: To the left of the courthouse, a blue mailbox appears. An outstretched hand puts the manila envelope with the “Complaint” sticker on it into the mailbox.)

(Visual: A red door appears to the right of the courthouse, and an outstretched hand holding the manila envelope with the word “Complaint” on it in red appears in front of it.)

Female Narrator: by mail, or by sheriff.

(Visual: The images disappear, and a manila envelope appears. A yellow sheet of paper slides up out of the top of the manila envelope, with the title “Answer” at the top in purple. Beneath the title, purple lines representing text fill the page. The text appears in purple beneath the envelope.)

Female Narrator: You’ll get an answer, and maybe some counterclaims.

Counterclaims

(Visual: The envelope slides to the left, and a man in a green dress shirt appears on the right, with a blue vest on. He has his hands folded in front of his chest.)

Female Narrator: That’s where the other party wants something from you.

(Visual: The man and the envelope disappear, and a Roman-style courthouse appears.)

Female Narrator: If you don’t get an answer,

(Visual: A brown rubber stamp flies in on the right, stamps a purple circle with a white checkmark inside on the top right of the courthouse, and flies out.)

Female Narrator: you can ask the court to declare that you won the case.

(Visual: The stamp disappears, and the courthouse moves to the right. The plaintiff, the man in the yellow t-shirt, appears from the waist up, with his hands folded across his chest. Behind him, sheets of paper appear, with lines representing text, and purple and white squares representing Polaroids attached to the top of the paper.)

Female Narrator: Otherwise, you’ll get ready for a hearing where you’ll explain the problem.

(Visual: The papers behind the man disappear.)

(Visual: A white circle with a purple shadow appears above the courthouse, with a wooden gavel inside. The gavel bangs down on a sounding board.)

(Visual: The gavel disappears, and a stack of money appears inside the circle, green bills with dollars signs, and a stack of coins.)

Female Narrator: After the hearing, you’ll find out the court’s decision, and collect the judgement, which is the amount the court has agreed to.

(Visual: The man disappears, and a calendar with tear-off pages appears. In between purple rectangles, the first page reads, “JAN.” As the first page tears off, the next page is visible, which says, “FEB.” After that, “MAR,” “APR,” “MAY,” “JUN,” “JUL,” “AUG,” “SEP,” “OCT,” “NOV,” and “DEC” appear in rapid succession. When the pages reach DEC, they stop tearing off.)

Female Narrator: Sometimes it can take months, or even years to collect a judgement.

(Visual: The images disappear, and a grey rectangular computer window with a purple bar at the top appears. Inside the computer window, a purple list of steps appears- Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, Step 4, Step 5, Step 6, Step 7. Next to each step is a bar, and some have a “completed” circle beside them. A highlight of light purple scrolls down the steps, highlighting them one at a time. Beneath the computer window, text appears in purple.)

Female Narrator: Legal Services Vermont explains all these steps in our small claims roadmap, and videos.

Legal Services Vermont

(Visual: The images disappear, and a thin purple line stretches horizontally. Above it, the logo for Legal Services Vermont appears, with the words, “Working together for justice” below it. Below the purple line, the phone number and website address appear.)

Female Narrator: Find more details on our website, or contact us for quick advice.

Legal Services Vermont

Working together for justice

1-800-889-2047

vtlawhelp.org

Music ends.

End of transcript.

Return to page with the video.

 

Updated: Mar 30, 2021