Trover is the recovery of damages against a person who had found another's good / property and wrongfully converted them to his/her own use.


Trovers may be served preferably at the defendant(s) residence or as a last resort, place of employment within Effingham County.

Filing Fee

The filing fee is $95 for one defendant and $50 for each additional defendant per case. If you have a private processor serving the papers, the filing fee is then $45. Checks should be made payable to Magistrate Court.

Procedures for Filing a Trover

The Clerk of Magistrate Court provides forms for filing a Trover (PDF). An applicant may appear in person in the office of the Clerk of Magistrate Court and the clerk will process your paperwork. If preferred, you may download the form, and mail it in. Mailed forms must be completely filled out and properly signed and notarized. You may also file online (an additional $20 filing fee applies).


A person who has been served with a Trover has 30 days to file an answer. If an answer is not filed within 30 days, the defendant is in default. A defendant may file an answer from the 31st to the 45th day upon payment of court cost. Download the Answer/Counterclaim Form (PDF).


If the defendant fails to file an answer within 45 days, the plaintiff may request a default judgment. A plaintiff wishing to obtain a default judgment should file for an Affidavit for Default Judgment (PDF) with the Clerk of Magistrate Court.


If a defendant files an answer a hearing will be scheduled within 30 days of the date of the answer, but no sooner than 15 days. Both parties will have the right to present evidence and call witnesses. The parties should bring any relevant evidence with them to court; including copies of the contract, receipts, ledgers, photographs or other relevant items.


At the discretion of the courts, mediation may take place prior to court to have the opportunity to speak to see if the matter can be resolved without a hearing. A mediator will be provided by the court to assist the parties in discussing the matter, at no additional cost. If a decision cannot be reached during mediation, the court will set up a hearing date and the case will be presented to the judge.


If a party has witnesses, the party should bring them to the hearing. Written statements may not be accepted as evidence. If assistance is needed to obtain the attendance of witnesses, a Request for Subpoena form (PDF) should be completed and returned to the Clerk of Magistrate Court along with the required fee. For the courts to serve the subpoena the fee is $25; if you serve the subpoena the fee is $1.