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Michigan Court Records

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How Does the Michigan Court of Claims Work?

The Michigan Public Act 164 authorizes the Michigan Court of Claims to hear all civil actions filed against Michigan. The Court of Claims is a specialized court with exclusive jurisdiction in highway defects, medical malpractices, constitutional actions, tax-related claims, contracts, and other state-related litigations.

Although the Court of Claims’ jurisdiction is exclusive, it is somewhat limited. The court does not have the authority to hear or consider any claim made for the compensation cases indicated below:

  • Matters involving the compensation of injured peace officers (1969 PA 317, MCL 419.101 to 419.104)
  • Cases under the Worker’s Disability Compensation Act of 1969 (1969 PA 317, MCL 418.101 to 418.941)

From 1970 to late 2013, the Court of Claims was part of the 30th Circuit Court in Ingham County, but on November 12, 2013, was relocated to the Michigan Court of Appeals. There are four appellate judges in the court, including a chief judge, who remain in office for 2-year terms before being reassigned at the term’s expiration (Sec. 6404(6)).. As given by the state’s statutes, the terms of judges usually expire in odd-numbered years. Judges and chief judges are selected and assigned from the Court of Appeals to the Michigan Supreme Court’s Court of Claims. These judges preside over civil cases where money damages being sought exceed $1,000. However, under Sec. 6419(1), the court may hear cases less than $1,000 at its discretion and upon the attorney general’s advice.

Before a judge is assigned to the Court of Claims, the judge must have substantial experience from the Michigan trial courts across at least two Court of Appeals districts. One judge hears each case in the court. Perchance this judge is disqualified or disabled, or otherwise unavailable, under Sec.6404, another Court of Claims judge will be assigned to attend to the matter. Suppose a judge becomes deceased before signing a pending judgment or after the filing of the finding of fact. a Court of Claims judge may continue the case in a manner consistent with the decedent judge’s findings or opinions. Also, in cases where a judge leaves office pre-expiration of a term, the Supreme Court may select a Court of Appeals judge to serve until the term comes to its natural end.

Civil proceedings in the Michigan Court of Claims are typically conducted in the Circuit Courts, according to the Michigan Court Rules of 1985, Chapter 2: Civil Procedure. However, the court does not hold jury trials. A civil suit begins when an individual with a grievance against the state files a claim for monetary, equitable, or declaratory relief in the Court of Claims. A case may be filed by mail or in-person at the Court of Claims Clerk’s office or in-person during business hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the court’s locations in Lansing, Detroit, Troy, and Grand Rapids (minus court holidays).. It is not required for an attorney to be present while filing a claim. The court’s locations are as follows:

Court of Claims Clerk’s Office

Hall of Justice

925 West Ottawa Street

P. O. Box 30185

Lansing, MI 48909

Phone: (517) 373–0807

Court of Claims - District I


Cadillac Place

3020 West Grand Boulevard

Suite 14–300

Detroit, MI 48202–6020

Court of Claims - District II


Columbia Center

201 West Big Beaver Road

Suite 800

Troy, MI 48084–4127

Court of Claims - District III

Grand Rapids

State Office Building

350 Ottawa NorthWest

Grand Rapids, MI 49503–2349

Court of Claims - District IV


Hall of Justice

925 West Ottawa Street

P. O. Box 30185

Lansing, MI 48909

The court’s filing fees are $175 ($150 filing fee and $25 E-filing system fee) for new cases, $20 for motions, $25 for appeals, and $15 for garnishment writs or execution, discovery subpoenas, or debtor’s exams. These filing fees are similar to that of the Circuit Courts as denoted in the Circuit Court Fee and Assessments Table, and may be paid using cash, check, or money order. Petitioners using money orders or checks must make the fees payable to the Court of Claims. Where a plaintiff is unable to pay the filing fees, the court may waive the fees. This may be for reasons involving persons receiving public assistance, prisoners, or other conditions listed in the Waiver/Suspension of Fees and Costs Form. This form may be submitted to the court. Petitioners who are incarcerated at the time of filing are required to file a copy of their prisoner account statement along with the form.

All filings in the Court of Claims must be made in accordance with MCR 8.119(C) and must include an original Summons and Complaint Form. After the filing process is completed in any of the court’s districts, the court mails an issued summons, case number, and the assigned judge’s information to the petitioner. Parties who file their cases in the Lansing location may receive this information on the same day. Afterward, the case proceeds as directed in the state’s rules of Civil Procedure. Inquiries on the hearing process may be obtained by contacting the Clerk’s office by phone on (517) 373–0807.

Interested persons may access online case information, up-to-date court calendars, and dockets of the Court of Claims using the MiCourt name, case, or calendar search features. To use the Name Search tool, searchers must enter a first and last name and filing date. Researchers using the Case Search tool may enter a year, case number, case type, and filing date to receive results. The Calendar Search is applicable to obtain current hearing information by entering a hearing date, officer, or location. Publicly-available court records from the Michigan Court of Claims may be obtained by submitting a Request for Court Records Form for 50 cents per page.

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