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Suffolk County District Court - Notice To Parties: Small Claims & Commercial Claims Actions


updated May 29, 2010

Adjournments
Requests for adjournments must be made in writing to the court with notice of the request given to all parties. Requests may also be made in person on the court date. No requests for adjournments will be accepted by phone. All requests for adjournments are submitted to the judge/arbitrator on the court date for approval. The court does not notify the parties of the new court date if the adjournment request is granted. You must contact the court to ascertain the new date.

Proof of Claim; Defenses to Claim
On the court date you must submit all items necessary to prove the claim or to defend against the claim. Contracts, agreements, receipts, cancelled checks, photographs and other documents should be produced at trial. Property damage may be proven by two itemized written estimates or by one itemized paid bill. Persons having actual knowledge of the facts and circumstances of the claim, or who are experts in a field may be present to testify. Expert witnesses cannot be subpoenaed to testify since most require compensation to appear in court.

Duty to Pay Judgments
Any person, partnership, firm or corporation which is sued in a small or commercial claims court for any cause of action arising out of its business activities, shall pay any judgment rendered against it in its true name or in any name in which it conducts business. "True name" includes the legal name of a natural person and the name under which a partnership, firm or corporation is licensed, registered, incorporated or otherwise authorized to do business. "Conducting business" as used in this section shall include, but not limited to, maintaining signs at business premises or on business vehicles; advertising; entering into contracts; and printing or using sales slips, checks, invoices or receipts. Whenever a judgment has been rendered against a person, partnership, firm or corporation in other than its true name and the judgment has remained unpaid for thirty-five days after receipt by the judgment debtor of notice of its entry, the aggrieved judgment creditor shall be entitled to commence an action in small/commercial claims court against such judgment debtor, notwithstanding the jurisdictional limit of the court, for the sum of the original judgment, costs, reasonable attorney's fees, and one hundred dollars.

Whenever a judgment which relates to activities for which a license is required has been rendered against a business which is licensed by a state or local licensing authority and which remains unpaid for thirty-five days after receipt by the judgment debtor of notice of its entry and the judgment has not been stayed or appealed, the state or local licensing authority shall consider such failure to pay, if deliberate or part of a pattern of similar conduct indicating recklessness, as a basis for the revocation, suspension, conditioning or refusal to grant or renew such license. Nothing herein shall be construed to preempt an authority's existing policy if it is more restrictive.