Small Claims Court

The Small Claims Court is an informal court where corporations, partnerships and associations can sue for money only, up to $5,000.00 without a lawyer.

For example, if you feel that a person or business damaged something of yours, you may sue that person or business for the monetary amount of your damages. You also may sue a person or business for money damages arising out of a dispute over a contract. You cannot, however, in Small Claims Court to compel that person or business to fix the damaged item or require the performance of the act promised in the advertisement. Your lawsuit can be only for money.gavel

Who can use the Small Claims Court?
Anyone over 18 years of age can bring an action in Small Claims Court. If you are younger than 18, your parents or guardian may file the claim for you. Corporations, partnerships, associations, or assignees cannot sue in Small Claims Court, but they can be sued.

If you sue;
If you sue in Small Claims Court, you are the claimant (plaintiff); if you have been sued, you are the defendant. You can sue more than one defendant in the same case if necessary.

If you are sued;
If you are sued, and you believe that a third party is responsible for the claim, you may be able to bring that party into the lawsuit as a defendant. This is called a “third-party action.”

It is not necessary to have an attorney since Small Claims Court is meant to be a “people’s court” where claims may be tried speedily, informally, and inexpensively. If there are attorneys on both sides, the case may be transferred to a regular part of the court.

The New York State Unified Court System provides an informative guide to Small Claims Court to view and download it click here. For the location of the Civil courts in New York City counties click here.

The Jewish religion requires that a dispute be brought before an arbitration panel before proceeding to a secular court. Click here for more information.