Cape May County Small Claims Court
Can I file my case in Cape May County?
A case may be filed in a County if at least one defendant resides there (or the business is located there). A business is deemed to “live” in any county where it conducts business or where its registered office is. For example if you want to sue your mechanic and their shop is located in Cape May County, you may file your case here. If you have a case with more than one defendant, you may file a case in a County where any of the defendants reside. If none of the defendants reside in any New Jersey County, you are then allowed to file the action where the cause of case occured.
Caution: A minor cannot file an action in small claims court on their own behalf. He or she must have their parent or guardian file it on their behalf.
Types of Actions Generally Filed in Small Claims Court:
- Breach of contract (written or oral)
- Return of down payment
- Damage to a Motor Vehicle
- Property Damage Or Loss
- Faulty Workmanship, Defective Merchandise (and other consumer complaints)
- Payment for Labor Performed
- Bad Checks
- Back Rent
- Return of security deposit (remember special rule can sue up to and including $5,000)
What areas are served by the Cape May County Court?
Cape May Court serves the following locations in Cape May County: Lower Township, Middle Township, Upper Township, Ocean City, Dennis Township, Wildwood, North Wildwood, Cape May, Wildwood Crest, Woodbine, Sea Isle City, Avalon, West Cape May, Stone Harbor, West Wildwood, and Cape May Point.
Cape May Small Claims Court Appeals
If a party doesn’t agree with a decision on a small claims court case, an appeal may be filed to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court within 45 days of 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. You also need to file these documents with all parties to the case, the clerk where your case was first heard, and to the judge who made the ruling. The appealing party must pay a $200 filing fee with the Notice of Appeal. They must also pay an additional $300 deposit with the Appellate Division Clerk within 30 days of the Notice of Appeal. This deposit can be used to pay settlement costs or court costs associated with the appeal if you lose on appeal. This deposit is returned to you if you prevail. A transcript of the original trial proceedings needs to be obtained. A transcript is a written copy of the proceedings that occured at the trial. 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 expense of an appeal, it is very important to ensure you are ready and prepared for the original trial – to save you the time and headaches of appealing an incorrect ruling. Additional information and answer to most questions can be found by contacting the Office of the Clerk of the Appellate Division for New Jersey at (609) 292-4822.
Ombudsman for Cape May Small Claims Court
Each County has an Ombudsman assigned to assist small claims litigants (amongst other responsibilities). They can assist you with questions you may have about your small claims case. The ombudsman for Cape May County is Kathleen Obringer. They can be reached at 609-594-3346. The fax number is 609-343-2142. Their email address is AtlOmbudsman.email@example.com.
Small Claims Court is one of three sections of Cape May Superior Court’s Special Civil Part (the other two sections are Landlord / Tenant and regular Special Civil Part). 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. Small Claims cases are designed to follow rules and procedures that are much simpler and easier to understand than a regular civil case. 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. Generally, people file their own cases and represent themselves in court. In small claims court, one is limited to suing for not more than $3,000 (or $5,000 if the case concerns the return of a tenant’s security deposit). If the amount you are seeking is more than $3,000, but does not exceed $15,000, the case can be filed in regular Special Civil Part. Note: If you believe you are owed more than $3,000 but still wish to file your case in small claims court, you waive (or give up) your right to recover money over the $3,000 limit. These excess damages cannot be claimed later in a separate action.
Claims NOT handled in Cape May County Small Claims Court
- Malpractice (alleged malpractice by a doctor, lawyer, dentist, etc.)
- Support or alimony (from a marriage or domestic dispute)
- Any action regarding a payment under a will (or other probate matters)
Cape May County Special Civil Part
Special Civil Part handled cases where the amount exceeds the limits of small claims court but is not asking for more than $15,000. In these cases, the rules are not as relaxed as in Small Claims Court. Cases exceeding $15,000 are filed in the Law Division.
Location for Small Claims Court in Cape May County
The Cape May County Small Claims Court is located at:Special Civil Part Cape May Courthouse 9 N. Main Street Cape May, NJ 08210
The Court’s telephone number is (609) 463-6502.