What Does An Appeal To Circuit Court In My Collection Case Mean?

What Does An Appeal To Circuit Court In My Collection Case Mean?

circuit courtMost collection cases in Alabama start off in District Court which includes Small Claims Court. The losing party, however, has the option to appeal to Circuit Court within 14 days as a general rule.

So where does the case go after an appeal

When the appeal occurs, the case starts over in Circuit Court.

It is as if what happened in the lower court (District or Small Claims Court) doesn’t matter.

Why do things start over in Circuit Court?

In Circuit Court, you have the right to demand a jury.  Because in any case you have a constitutional right to have a jury trial. But in District Court there is no trial by jury. And in Small Claims there is no right to a jury trial.

So you have the right to appeal to Circuit Court and start your case over from scratch.

So, is this good or bad?

It depends (good lawyer answer, huh?).

But it is true. If you lost, then the right to appeal is a wonderful thing. You get a second chance.

But if you won your collection case and the other side appeals, then you have to win again.

Just recognize and understand about the absolute right to appeal. If you win your collection case understand the debt buyer could appeal. If you happen to lose your collection case then you do have a “restart” or “do-over” button if you are willing to pay the price to appeal your case.

Why are there so few appeals in collection cases?

Several reasons.

First, usually the way the District or Small Claims Court judge ruled is the same way the Circuit Court judge will rule.

Second, there are expenses to appealing a case and trying the case over.

Third, for a collector who did not provide evidence to the judge in the lower court, if they don’t offer evidence in Circuit Court, they have just violated the law even more.  When we sue them for violating the FDPCA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) and Alabama state law, then it gets worse for them if they have filed a bogus suit and then appealed a bogus suit to Circuit Court.

What should you do if you are sued in a debt collection case?

A couple of things:

First, figure out your five options.

Second, understand the process if you are in Small Claims or District Court.

Third, call us at 205-879-2447 if you would like to have some one on one advice about your suit.  This is also true if your case has been appealed to Circuit Court or if you were sued in Circuit Court to begin with.

(You can also reach us here and we’ll be glad to get in touch with you immediately).

Look forward to chatting with you soon!

John Watts


  1. Patricia says:

    Dear Mr Watts, II was sued by profolio in small claims court. It was today. I studied your utube recordings and besided to represent myself. So, we went to court and profolio had credit card statements, letter of bill of sale and an affidavit saying they bought the debt from Citibank (Best Buy). I told the judge that I objected to the affidavit because I could not cross examine a piece of paper and how do we know that it’s true. I only admitted to owning Best Buy. Guess what happened! The judge accepted the affidavit and ruled in profolios favor! I lost the case! I filed an appeal before leaving the court house. I even told the judge that they needed a purchase agreement as proof, but he judged that the affidavit was proof! I was very disappointed!
    What should I do now? I called Carolyn, and, hopefully she will return my call tomorrow.
    Thank you for all of your videos and helpful information and advise that you give. I would not have had the confidences to defend myself without your help. Thank you very much.

    • John Watts says:

      Patricia, I’m sorry the judge ruled against you. It was very smart to file the appeal right away as you don’t want to miss your deadline to do so. Carolyn and I will get with you tomorrow and be glad to help you any way we can.

      Thank you for the kind words about the videos — talk to you soon!


Leave a Comment