Syracuse City Court - Civil Actions

Civil Actions

Monetary Jurisdiction (Uniform City Court Act, sec. 202):

The Court shall have jurisdiction of actions and proceedings for the recovery of money or personal property where the amount sought to be recovered or the value of the property does not exceed $15,000, exclusive of interest and costs.

Geographical Jurisdiction (Uniform City Court Act, sec 213):

To bring a civil action in the City Court either the plaintiff or the defendant must:

1. be a resident of the City or be a resident of a town contiguous to the City; or
2. have regular employment within the City; or
3. have a place for the regular transaction of business within the City.

A suit is commenced in the City Court upon filing of a Summons and Complaint with the appropriate court fee.

If, after all discovery and depositions have been completed, a civil action is to proceed to trial, a trial note of issue must be filed for either a non-jury or jury trial. If the amount of damages sought are $6,000 or less, the case is sent to mandatory arbitration. If the amount of damages exceeds $6,000 (up to the jurisdictional limit), the case will be scheduled for trial before a City Court Judge or Jury or, in the alternative, the parties may agree to have their case referred to arbitration.

If the parties agree to have their case referred to arbitration, the decision of the arbitrator is binding. The Court's power to vacate or modify the award is limited (CPLR sec. 7511). If a civil action is referred to mandatory arbitration and one of the parties is not satisfied with the arbitrator's decision, either party may request a trial before a City Court Judge by filing a Trial de Novo with the Clerk of the City Court with the appropriate fee.

If a civil action is decided by a City Court Judge and the parties are not satisfied with the decision of the Judge they may file an Appeal to County Court.

It is RECOMMENDED that a plaintiff seek the advice of counsel when filing a civil action. Please note that the Court cannot provide legal assistance.