Elmira City Court

Civil Court

Small Claims/Commercial Claims Jurisdictional And General Information

Who Can Use Small Claims? | Geographic Jurisdiction | Monetary Jurisdiction | Age | Necessary Parties

Who Can Use Small Claims?

You must be an individual to use Small Claims. Corporations, Partnerships, Associations or Assignees cannot bring actions in Small Claims (see Commercial Claims if you are a Corporation, Partnership or Association).

Small Claims Application

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Geographic Jurisdiction:

You must bring the action where the Defendant resides or where he/she is doing business at the time you start the action. Elmira City Court has jurisdiction within Chemung County. You also have the option to sue in the Town or Village Court if the Defendant resides outside the City of Elmira.

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Monetary Jurisdiction:

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

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You must be 18 years or older to bring an action in Small Claims; otherwise, the action must be brought by a parent or guardian.

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Necessary Parties:

If a party will be inequitably affected by a judgment rendered by a Court (that is, his/her right to litigate a claim or recover damages against a named defendant could be determined by the case being heard), that person must be named as a claimant/plaintiff in the case. If such a person refuses to join the case as a plaintiff, then he/she may be named as a defendant (CPLR 1101[a]). Two examples of people who should be joined as claimants/plaintiffs include:
(1) co-tenants on a lease in a claim against landlord;
(2) when the owner of, operator of and riders in an automobile are different people in a negligence action for property damage and personal injuries.

Guide to Small Claims & Commercial Claims in the New York State City, Town & Village Courts