As of April 1, 2016, a pilot has been initiated to test the feasibility of a small claims process in the U.S. Court of International Trade. The pilot has been designed to achieve many of the benefits of a traditional small claims docket, particularly speed, efficiency, and affordability. The Court has not set a specific dollar figure for the value in controversy in order to provide parties with flexibility to determine whether a case may be well-suited for resolution under the small claims process. Cases that might be appropriate for resolution through the small claims process may include matters that would not have a significant impact on the disposition of any future claim regardless of the sum or value in controversy.
The findings from the pilot will better inform the Court about the appropriate limits on the amount in controversy or types of cases to which this procedure can be applied (currently, these are left open ended). During the pilot period, other necessary modifications to the proposed procedures may also become apparent.
For further information, please review Rule X, which serves as the model for the procedure under the small claims pilot and the Stipulated Discovery Plan and Scheduling Order under which the parties will be bound. The Court asks that counsel identify appropriate cases for the pilot and file a motion for leave to proceed under the pilot in any case where they think application of this procedure would be useful.