HOW TO PROCEED WITH A SMALL CLAIMS CASE
A Small Claim is a claim for money only, not exceeding $3,000. The person you wish to sue must live, work or have place of business within the jurisdiction of the Village of Piermont.
You do not need a lawyer in Small Claims cases. The simplified procedure in the Court is designed to make it easy for a layman to prosecute his/her own action.
Any person over 18 years of age may bring an action for money only in the Small Claims part of the Court. A minor (under 18) may file a claim by having a parent or guardian make a claim and appear with him/her.
The following MAY NOT bring claims in this court, although claims may be brought against them:
- Corporations (except a municipal corporation, public benefit corporation, school district or school district public library).
- Associations (such as clubs)
Such cases must be brought in the civil part of the court, which is subject to different rules.
It is necessary that you personally appear before the clerk to commence the suit. The fees for a Small Claims action are $10.00 for claims equaling $1,000 or less; $15.00 for claims exceeding $1,000. This is payable to the Court by Cash or Money Order.
Information Required for Small Claims Applications:
- Your complete name, address, and daytime phone number.
- The complete name and address of the person you are suing (no PO Boxes)
- Nature, amount, and particulars of your claim – not to exceed $3,000.
After the application is completed, you will receive a receipt with your Court date (which is set by the Court). A Small Claims requires 21 days for the first class mailing, as well as return receipt requested to the defendant. Therefore, the date will be set at least 22 days from your date of filing. Small Claims are heard on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 pm.
Defendants in Small Claims Cases
As a defendant you can also make a counterclaim. It cannot exceed $3,000 in amount. A counterclaim must be filed with the Court within 5 days of receiving the claim, and you must pay a $3.39 CASH ONLY filing fee.
Defending the Small Claims Suit
If the defendant is a corporation, either its attorney or any authorized officer, director or employee can appear on its behalf. Such an appearance by non-lawyer is deemed to constitute authority to bind the corporation in any settlement or a trial.
If you cannot appear on the court date, you must request an adjournment. You must contact the Court Clerk at least 5 days prior to your court date and follow up with a written letter.
Failure to Appear on the Court Date
If you do not appear at the time set forth, the Court will dismiss your claim if you are the plaintiff. If you are the defendant, and have not notified the court that you will not appear prior to your appearance, the Court may grant a default judgment against you.
Getting Ready for Court
You should make careful note of the court date, documentation needed for your case, and arrange to have the necessary witnesses. If applicable, you must bring any paperwork necessary including bills, receipts, estimates, leases, etc. Please make sure your witnesses are ready to appear.
There are some witnesses who do not wish to become involved. This type of witness may have to be issued a subpoena. There is no charge for this service, but it will be up to you to arrange for the subpoena to be served.
After the decision is rendered, you have 30 days to appeal. If you decide to appeal, you must file a Notice of Appeal and a $5.00 fee with the Court and serve the Notice of Appeal upon the other party and file an Affidavit of Service.
The prosecution of an appeal requires a certain amount of legal skill, which most laymen do not possess. You may need an attorney who undoubtedly will charge a fee. In addition, you will have to furnish the appellate court with a transcript of the testimony. To obtain this, you are required to purchase them from the Court Reporter. The cost of the transcript of testimony depends on the length of the trial and the Court Reporter will give you an estimate of that charge.
If your opponent appeals the judgment, he/she can temporarily stop the enforcement of your judgment against him/her pending the decision of the appeals court by filing a bond or undertaking to guarantee payment if he should lose the appeal. If you receive a notice of appeal, you should call the Court to find out if there is any bond posted. If there is not, you make take steps necessary to collect the judgment or you may, if you prefer, wait to do so when the appeal has been decided.
COLLECTING ON A JUDGMENT
1. Take the transcript of Judgment to the Office of the Rockland County Clerk, 1 South Main Street, Ste 100, New City, NY 10956
2. The fee for filing the transcript is $10.00. To proceed with an execution there is an additional $5.00 fee for each execution.
3. The County Clerk’s Office will prepare an execution, which you will then deliver to the Rockland County Sheriff’s Department, Civil Division, 55 New Hempstead Road, New City, NY 10956.
4. There are 2 different types of executions:
PROPERTY EXECUTION: An individual’s property may be garnished. You may be asked by the Sheriff’s Office to provide information concerning what the individual owns or where they have bank accounts.
INCOME EXECUTION: An individual’s salary may be garnished. You will need to furnish the County Clerk with the debtor’s employer, employer’s address, and how much the debtor makes a week / month.
Furnished by the Rockland County Clerk’s Office