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Do you want to sue Delta Airlines in small claims court?

Your Guide to Sue Delta Airlines in Small Claims Court

Thanks to an arbitration clause in your Delta Airlines terms of service contract, you probably can’t sue the company in any court besides small claims court. It can be a complicated and time consuming process, but suing Delta Airlines in small claims court usually gets you what you want.

1

MAKE SURE YOUR CLAIM QUALIFIES FOR SMALL CLAIMS COURT

Are you ready to sue Delta Airlines in small claims court? Small claims courts are only for certain types of claims. The first step is to ensure you qualify to file a lawsuit in small claims court. There are two things you need to know:

  1. The amount of money: Every small claims court sets a maximum dollar size for the claim you can bring. In most states it’s either $5000 or $10,000, but it can be as low as $2,500 (in Kentucky and Rhode Island). You can find a list of all 50 states’ monetary limits here.
  2. The type of relief: There are two types of awards that you can seek in a lawsuit – monetary (a dollar value payment) and equitable (a non-monetary request). Most small claims courts grant only monetary awards.

If your claim doesn’t fall within the limits of your state’s small claims court, you’ll have to arbitrate your claim instead.

2

SEND A DEMAND LETTER

Most small claims courts require that you ask the person you’re suing (the “defendant”) to fix your problem voluntarily before you file your claim. If you want to sue Delta Airlines in small claims court, you first need to send the company a demand letter.

A demand letter can be simple and straightforward. Tell Delta Airlines who you are (your name, address, phone number and account number), what the problem is, and what you want from the company. The whole letter can be just a few sentences.

When you’re done writing, you need to mail a hard copy of the letter, preferably as certified mail that allows you to confirm delivery of the demand letter, to their legal address. Delta Airlines is legally based in Delaware and receives mail at this address :

DELTA AIR LINES, INC.
CORPORATION SERVICE COMPANY
251 LITTLE FALLS DRIVE
WILMINGTON, DE 19808

If you would like examples of demand letters or more information about how to write them, refer to this helpful guide.

3

FILL OUT COURT FORMS

In order to sue Delta Airlines in small claims court, you’re going to need to fill out some paperwork.

Each state has a set of forms that need to be filled out to file a claim, and sometimes counties will request additional forms. The correct forms for your location will be available for free on your state court’s website.

Make sure you fill out enough forms. Most states that require you to file forms by mail or in-person will ask for 3 or 4 copies. If you don’t have the right number of copies, the court clerk will not accept your claim.

4

FILE YOUR COMPLAINT FORM WITH THE COURT.

When you’re done filling out the court forms, it’s time to give the forms to the court. This process can be a bit confusing.

Many courts will require you to come to the courthouse during specified days and hours to deliver the forms to the court clerk. Other courts may allow you to file by fax, mail or online.

All courts will require you to pay a filing fee before they allow your to sue Delta Airlines in small claims court. This fee, which will be published on your court’s website, is sometimes waived if you are a low income plaintiff.

When you submit the proper forms, the court clerk provides you with a stamped copy of the forms and a court date.

5

“SERVE” YOUR FORMS ON DELTA AIRLINES.

If you’ve made it this far, good work! Suing Delta Airlines in small claims court is a long and difficult process.

Now that you’ve filed the papers required to start your case against Delta Airlines, you need to tell Delta Airlines about the claim. This is a called “serving” Delta Airlines. To do this, you need to deliver a copy of your filed paperwork to Delta Airlines.

Look at your court’s website for instructions on how to properly deliver your forms to Delta Airlines, or search for “[your state] small claims service of process”. Courts have many strange rules about how to serve a defendant, and you can expect the court to drop claim if you do not follow the instructions perfectly.

6

SHOW UP FOR YOUR COURT DATE.

When the court clerk gives you a court date, make sure to put it on your calendar.

Make sure you know where the hearing is scheduled to unfold. Bring the copies  of your filed forms, and any other evidence that backs up your case against Delta Airlines.

Sometimes, Delta Airlines will not show up to oppose you. If that happens, take advantage of the company’s absence to present your side of the story.

Are you ready to sue Delta Airlines in small claims court?
If this sounds too hard and expensive, try consumer arbitration instead…

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