What to Know about New York Small Claims Court
The New York Small Claims Court is a division of New York’s judiciary system that allows an individual or business to sue another person who also resides in the town or city where the court sits. The person or business can sue for a small monetary amount for damages. In New York Small Claims Court, the damages cannot exceed $5,000, although in other states this limit may be higher or lower.
A person can choose to sue for any type of damage as long as it can be translated into a monetary value. For example, an individual may choose to sue against a repair service that is not satisfactory as according to what was paid for, a company that provides a defective product, or even against an employer who refuses to pay wages.
Cases that can be taken to New York Small Claims Court include:
Return of security deposit
Damaged or broken property
Breach of verbal or written contract
Bills from doctors or hospitals due to medical treatment
Claims valued up to the limited amount
Usually, individuals over 18 years old can bring forward an action in New York Small Claims Court. For individuals under the age of 18, a guardian or parent must file the claim instead. The individual who is suing is considered the claimant or the plaintiff while the individual or business being sued is the defendant.
In New York Small Claims Court, corporations, associations, partnerships, or assignees can be sued, but they cannot be the claimant. However, there is a protocol similar to that of New York Small Claims Court for these parties to bring forth a claim.
Before Filing a Lawsuit in New York Small Claims Court
Before starting a claim in New York Small Claims Court, it is best to try to first settle the dispute. In most circumstances, an individual is asked to sign an affidavit, which is a sworn statement, stating that the signer made a true attempt to collect on the claim at hand. This could have been done in person, in writing, or via phone. The offer must be clear, simple, and rational. These written communications can be used later in court proceedings if needed.
Starting a Lawsuit in New York Small Claims Court
If an individual has used all possible and reasonable methods to settle the dispute without the involvement of the court, and the claimant has decided that suing is the right action to take, he or she should start to collect all relevant information before going to the court house. These can include records of contracts, agreements, and any witnesses as well.
To initiate a claim in New York Small Claims Court, a person must first go to the Clerk’s office of the Small Claims Court of the relevant county and complete a statement of claim. This will require a fee of either $15 or $20, depending on the amount of damages, which must be paid by cash, money order, bank check, or certified check. From there the clerk gives a date for the hearing. If you need legal advice and assistance, contact New York lawyers.