Small claims court is a special court where disputes are resolved quickly and inexpensively. The rules are simple and informal. The person who sues is called theplaintiff or claimant. The person who is sued is called the defendant. In handful states, you are not allowed to have a lawyer represent you at the hearing in small claims court. But you can talk to a lawyer before or after court.
You can sue in small claims court if you are:
At least 18 years old, or
An emancipated child(指脱离父母而能完全独立生活、未满18周岁的未成年人).
If you are not mentally competent, or you are under 18 years old (and not emancipated), a judge must appoint a'guardian ad litem'(法定监护人)to represent you in small claims court. A guardian ad litem is an adult appointed by the court to represent you ONLY in the case in question.
The legal claims in a small claim court fall below a statutory threshold--generally between $2,500 and $25,000, depending on the particular state.
许多州要求必须原、被告本人出庭（appear pro se），不允许聘请律师（例如，加州、密歇根州、内布拉斯加州）