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New York StateUnified Court System

Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland & Westchester Counties


Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS THE SMALL CLAIMS COURT?
The Small Claims Court is an informal court where individuals can sue for money only, up to $5,000 without a lawyer.
WHO CAN USE SMALL CLAIMS?
Anyone over 18 years of age can bring an action in Small Claims Court. If you are younger than 18, your parent or guardian may file the claim for you. Corporations, partnerships, associations, or assignees cannot sue in Small Claims Court, but they can be sued. See Commerical Claims.

If you choose, you may be represented by an attorney at your own expense, but 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.

WHERE ARE THE SMALL CLAIMS COURTS LOCATED?
All city courts have a Small Claims Part.

GEOGRAPHIC JURISDICTION:

You must bring the action in the County where the Defendant resides, works or has an office for the transaction of business at the time you start the action.

Dutchess County
City Court of Beacon
City Court of Poughkeepsie

Orange County
City Court of Middletown
City Court of Newburgh
City Court of Port Jervis

Westchester County
City Court of Mount Vernon
City Court of New Rochelle
City Court of Peekskill
City Court of Rye
City Court of White Plains
City Court of Yonkers

MONETARY JURISDICTION:

Up to $5,000.00 (exclusive of interest and costs) - Money damages only.

MUST I KNOW THE DEFENDANT'S CORRECT NAME?
When filing a Small Claims case, the claimant must provide the name and address of the person or business being sued.
WHAT IS A COUNTERCLAIM?
Sometimes the defendant may have a claim against the claimant and may countersue the claimant in the same case. This is known as a "counterclaim" and it can be made for up to $5,000 in money damages.

The defendant is required to file his or her counterclaim with the court within five days of receiving your notice of claim and must pay the court a fee of $5.00 plus the cost of mailing the counterclaim to you.

The defendant reserves the right to file a counterclaim until the date of the hearing.  The claimant may, but  shall  not  be  required  to,  request  and  obtain an adjournment of the  hearing to a later date.  The claimant may reply to the counterclaim but shall not be required to do so.

WHAT DO I DO IF I WIN?
If the claimant wins, the court will enter a judgment for a sum of money. The court also may require the claimant to take certain action--for example, return damaged merchandise to the defendant--before entering judgment.

























9th Judicial District