Bergen County Small Claims Court
Special Civil Part Cases
This section handles cases where the amount sought is more than $3,000 but equal to or less than $15,000. These cases have more formal rules and procedures than regular small claims court. Note: If your case exceeds $15,000, it needs to be filed in the Law Division of Bergen Superior Court.
Small Claims actions are heard in the Special Civil Part of Bergen Superior Court. The Special Civil Part also ears Landlord/Tenant cases and regular civil cases (that are filed in Special Civil Part because the amount sought is below a certain amount). Small Claims is a court where someone (the plaintiff) may bring an action against another person (the defendant) for money the plaintiff believes the defendant owes for one reason or another. Procedures for small claims court in New Jersey are much simpler than in other courts. This makes it that a non-attorney is able to file a case and present it quickly and without needing to learn lots of legal terminology and procedures. Because the rules are more relaxed, usually most parties represent themselves in small claims court (as either plaintiff or defendant). In Bergen, one can only file an action seeking up to, and including, $3,000. This is true for all Small Claims Courts in New Jersey (no matter what County they are filed in). If someone is trying to recover more than $3,000 and an amount up to, and including, $15,000, the case can be filed and heard in the regular Special Civil Part. Word of Caution: If your claim is for more than $3,000, you can file it in small claims court, but you give up your right to collect any money in excess of $3,000. You cannot recoup this excess in a separate or subsequent action.
Can I file my small claims case in Bergen County?
A claim can be filed in a County if at least one defendant lives there (or their business is located there). A business is located there is the business is actually conducting business in that county (“doing business”) or it is where the business’s registered office is located. For example, if you entered into a contract with someone and they live in Bergen County, you can file the case in this County. If there are several defendants in a case, it is persmissible to file the action in any County where a defendant resides. If no defendants in the case live in a New Jersey County, the claim needs to be filed in the County where the action arose.
Areas Served by the Bergen County Small Claims Court
Bergen Court serves the following locations in Bergen County: Hackensack, Teaneck, Fort Lee, Fair Lawn, Garfield, Englewood, Bergenfield, Paramus, Mahwah, Ridgewood, Lodi, Cliffside Park, Lyndhurst, Palisades Park, Elmwood Park, Rutherford, Dumont, Wyckoff, New Milford, North Arlington, Tenafly, Ramsey, Fairview, Saddle Brook, Oakland, Ridgefield Park, Hasbrouck Heights, Glen Rock, Edgewater, River Edge, Wallington, Ridgefield, Westwood, Little Ferry, Franklin Lakes, Hillsdale, River Vale, Waldwick, Maywood, Washington Township, Leonia, East Rutherford, Park Ridge, Cresskill, Closter, Upper Saddle River, Bogota, Oradell, Montvale, Wood-Ridge, Emerson, Midland Park, Allendale, Carlstadt, Old Tappan, Woodcliff Lake, Norwood, Rochelle Park, Englewood Cliffs, Demarest, Harrington Park, Northvale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Haworth, Saddle River, Moonachie, South Hackensack, Alpine, Rockleigh, and Teterboro.
Bergen County Small Claims Court Location
The Small Claims Court is located here:Special Civil Part Bergen County Justice Center Room 427, 10 Main Street Hackensack, NJ 07601
The Court’s telephone number is (201) 527-2730.
What Actions are Normally Filed in Bergen Small Claims Court?
- Oral Breach of Contract and Written Breach of Contract
- Action for the Return of a Down Payment
- Damage to a Motor Vehicle
- Property Damage Or Loss
- Consumer complaints of faulty workmanship or defective merchandise
- Payment for Labor Performed
- Bad Checks
- Actionf or Back Rent
- Action Seeking Return of Security Deposit (Special Note: you can seek up to, and including $5,000 for return of security deposit)
Special Note: If someone is under 18, the parent or guardian must file the small claims court action on the minor’s behalf.
Ombudsman for Bergen Small Claims Court
Each County in New Jersey has an Ombudsman. Part of their job responsibilities is to assist you with questions with your small claims court case. The Ombudsman assigned to Bergen County is Jennifer V. Shultis. The contact information is 201-527-2263 (Telephone) and 201-371-1111 (Fax). The email address for the Bergen County Ombudsman is BerOmbudsman.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Claims NOT handled in Bergen County Small Claims Court
- You cannot file an action alleging malpractice in Small Claims Court
- You cannot file an action for support (child) or alimony.
- Probate matters (you are claiming you are owed under a will, trust, or other estate instrument)
Bergen Small Claims Court Appeals
If a plaintiff or a defendant does not agree with the court’s decision, you can appeal the case to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court within 45 days of the entry of the judgment (the date should be on the judgment). The appealing party needs to provide the following documents with the Clerk of the Appellate Division at the Hughes Justice Complex within the 45 days: Notice of Appeal, copy of the Request for Transcript, and Case Information Statement. Copies of these documents need to be provided to all the parties to the case, to the clerk of the Special Civil Part and the judge where the case was heard. You must also pay a $200 filing fee with the Notice of Appeal and deposit an additional $300 with the Clerk of the Appellate Division within 30 days of the Notice of Appeal. The deposit is used for settlement costs or court costs and is returned to the appealing party if they prevail on the appeal. Additionally, you need to obtain a copy of the transcript from the original trial. The transcript is a copy of the record of what happened in court on the day of the trial (and reads much like a script). The transcript can be expensive. You are required to post the estimate for the cost of the transcript. Alternatively, you will be charged $300 for each day or partial day of trial transcript required for the appeal (most small claims court cases only require part of a court’s day). Because of the high costs of appeal, it is all the more important to be prepared for your original trial so that you need not rely on an appeal. For additional information on appeals from small claims court judgments in New Jersey, contact the Office of the Clerk of the Appellate Division at (609) 292-4822.