Civil Actions


Tenant's Rights Guide - New York State Attorney General's Office

If a case does not fall within the jurisdiction of small claims court or summary proceedings, you may be able to bring a civil action in the City Court.

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

  • Be a resident of the city or be a resident of a town contiguous to the city; or
  • Have regular employment within the city; or
  • Have a place for the regular transaction of business within the city.

Fees: A filing fee of $45.00 must be paid to the Court upon filing. If the claim involves a Consumer Credit Transaction, an additional $95.00 Consumer Credit Transaction fee is also required. The Court accepts cash, credit cards (Visa & MasterCard) and certified checks/money orders.


Required Forms

  • Summons and Complaint (Addresses for both parties must appear on Summons)
  • Affidavit of Service
  • Statement for Judgment

Commencing an Action

A suit is commenced by the purchase of an index number in the City Court Clerk's Office. Once an index number has been purchased, the litigant has 120 days to serve the summons and complaint.


Notice of Trial

If, after all discovery and depositions have been completed, a civil action is to proceed to trial; a Notice of Trial must be filed for either non-jury or jury trial.


Mandatory Arbitration

Once a Notice of Trial is filed, if the amount of damages sought are $6000 or less, the case is sent to mandatory arbitration. If the amount of damages exceeds $6000 (up to the jurisdictional limit) the case will be scheduled for trial before a City Court Judge or Jury.


Trial de Novo

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 demand for a Trial de Novo with the Clerk of the City Court along with the appropriate fee. An affidavit of service of the demand for the Trial de Novo, indicating service on the opposing party, must also be filed with the Court.


Vacating a Judgment

If a default judgment was taken against you because you failed to appear after notification of a civil action being filed against you, that judgment cannot be appealed. You must make a motion in the City Court in which the action was filed to vacate the default. To make such a motion, an affidavit under oath must be prepared that states the reason why you failed to appear in Court on the scheduled date and clearly sets forth your defense to the claim. The accuracy of this affidavit must be sworn to before a Notary Public and then provided to the other party. The affidavit must be served on the opposing party with a notice of motion which advises them of the date and time that the motion is set to be heard. (Check with the Clerk's offices to determine how each Court schedules motions).

The original copy of the motion must be filed with the clerk's office. An Affidavit of Service by mail must be completed and filed with the Court to attest that the motion affidavit was served on the other party. If the motion is denied, that denial can then be appealed.

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