Small Claims Jurisdictional & General Information (UCCA 1801)


You must be an individual or sole proprietorship 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).

You must bring the action in the county where the defendant resides, is employed, or where he/she is doing business at the time you commence the action. You also have the option to sue in the Town or Village Court where the defendant resides, is employed, or is doing business. (UCJA 1801)

The monetary jurisdiction is up to $5,000.00 (exclusive of interest and costs) - money damages only.

The filing fee for filing a claim for $1,000.00 or less is $15.00.
The filing fee for filing a claim for over $1,000.00 is $20.00.
The filing fees are payable to the City Court Clerk's Office in the form of cash or money order.

The court personnel cannot give legal advice.

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

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 1001(a)). Two examples of people who should be joined as claimants/plaintiffs include:

1. Co-tenants on a lease in a claim against the 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.

Small Claims Application Form: The form must be completed by the plaintiff and filed in the City Court Clerk's Office.

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If you have been named as a defendant in a Small Claims matter and have a claim against the Claimant, you may bring a "Counterclaim" as part of the lawsuit, for money only. You should file your own Small Claims Application with the Court with the filing fee of $5.00, plus postage. (Claims cannot be submitted via the Internet). You must inform the Court that you are filing a Counterclaim and inform the Court of the Case Name and Index Number of the case to which you are filing a Counterclaim. You must be prepared to prove the Counterclaim on the day you go to Court.

A Counterclaim should be filed within five (5) days of your receipt of the Summons and Notice of Claim. However, if you file a Counterclaim after the five (5) days has elapsed, the Claimant in the initial proceeding may request an adjournment of the hearing date. The Court may grant the adjournment request.

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If you have filed a Small Claims matter with the City Court and the parties have resolved the matter prior to the court hearing, you should advise the Court, in writing, immediately. Only the individual that filed the claim can withdraw the matter and must have his/her signature on the document.

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