I'm not the OP on that Reddit thread, nor have I commented on it, so I'm not trying to spam it.

A comment on r/LegalAdvice mentioned

Kentucky's small claims limit is $2500 [...] so if the value is more, you'd need to hire a lawyer and go to the Circuit Court (which hears civil cases over $5,000)

While Reddit's r/LegalAdvice subreddit can certainly be wrong, this statement appears to be accurate, as two presumably official sources support it.

Looking at the Small Claims handbook, it includes the following on page seven:

The maximum amount for which you can sue is $2,500 [...]

Looking at the website for the circuit court

​​​​Circuit Court is the court of general jurisdiction that hears civil matters involving more than $5,000

I'm not trying to do that, but I'm curious what one would do. I'm specifically curious about Kentucky, but if there are other jurisdictions with a gap between the small claims maximum and the Circuit Court minimum, answers for those jurisdictions are fine, too.

What happens if someone in Kentucky wants to sue for over $2,500 (the small claims maximum) but beneath $5,000 (the Circuit Court minimum)?

1 Answer 1


District Court

The KY Administrative Office of the Courts website and brochure says:

​​​​District Court is the court of limited jurisdiction and handles juvenile matters, city and county ordinances, misdemeanors, violations, traffic offenses, probate of wills, arraignments, felony probable cause hearings, small claims involving $2,500 or less, civil cases involving $5,000 or less, voluntary and involuntary mental commitments and cases relating to domestic violence and abuse. District judges serve four-year terms.

The same court hears the matter, but the small claims process cannot be used when the claim is $2,500.01-$5,000. Key differences are that in a general civil case, there may be a jury, fees are higher, and formal rules of evidence and procedure apply. KY allows appeals and attorney representation in a small claims case, but some states do not.

Simple cases of $2,500 or less could also be handled as a general civil matter in district court (e.g. exercising your right to a jury trial) but it is usually uneconomical to do so.

The range is relatively narrow in KY. In Michigan, for example, small claims goes up to $6,500 and district court has civil jurisdiction up to $25,000. New York is $5,000 and $15,000, respectively.

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