Essex County Small Claims Court
Essex County Small Claims Court Location
The Essex County Small Claims Court is located at:Civil Customer Service Hall of Records, Room 201 465 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Newark, NJ 07102
The Court can be reached at (973) 693-5529.
What Actions are Normally Filed in Essex Small Claims Court?
- Breach of contract (written or oral)
- Seeking Return of a Down Payment
- Motor Vehicle Property Damage
- Damage or Loss of Property
- Consumer complaints of faulty workmanship or defective merchandise
- Payment for Labor Performed
- Action for Payment on NSF Check
- 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)
Can I file my case in Essex County?
A claim must be filed in the County where at least one of the Defendants lives or where the business is located. 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. Hypothetically, if you wanted to sue a contractor for breach of contract, you could sue in Essex County if the business conducts business in that 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.
Special Note: If someone is under 18, the parent or guardian must file the small claims court action on the minor’s behalf.
What areas are served by the Essex County Court?
Essex Court serves the following locations in Essex County: Newark, East Orange, Irvington, Bloomfield, West Orange, Montclair, Belleville, Orange, Livingston, Nutley, Maplewood, Millburn, South Orange, Verona, Cedar Grove, West Caldwell, Caldwell, Glen Ridge Borough, Fairfield, North Caldwell, Roseland, and Essex Fells.
Small Claims actions are heard in the Special Civil Part of Essex 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 cases allow one party to sue another for monetary damages. Procedures for small claims court in New Jersey are much simpler than in other courts. These simplified rules allow a party to present their case in an expedient and cost-effective manner. Because the rules are more relaxed, usually most parties represent themselves in small claims court (as either plaintiff or defendant). 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 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. Special Note: You can file in small claims court if your claim exceeds $3,000 but you waive or forego your right to recover money in excess of the $3,000 limit (you also cannot file an additional action to recover the excess).
Essex County Special Civil Part
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. If a case exceeds $15,000, the appropriate location to file the case is the Law Division of Essex Superior Court.
Essex County Ombudsman
Each County in New Jersey has an Ombudsman. They can assist you with questions you may have about your small claims case. For Essex County, that person is Kimberly Cicala who can be reached by telephone at 973-693-5728 or fax at 973-693-5726. Their email address is EsxOmbudsman.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Appeals from Essex County Small Claims Court Cases
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). You need to file a Notice of Appeal, a copy of the Request for Transcript, and a Case Information Statement within the 45 days with the Clerk of the Appellate Division located at the Hughes Justice Complex, Trenton. You also need to provide copies to all the parties to the case (usually the opposing party or parties), the clerk of the Special Civil Part where your case was first heard, and the judge who decided the case. 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 utilized to pay for settlement or court costs arising from the appeal. You receive the deposit back if you win your appeal. A transcript also needs to be obtained (hence the Notice of Requested Transcript listed above). A transcript is a written copy of the proceedings that occured at the trial. This can be expensive. Generally you will be required to post an estimate of the cost of the transcript or $300 for each full or partial day of trial. Due to the high expense of the appeal process (and additional time you have to wait), we encourgae all small claims litigants to have their evidence and witnesses ready and be prepared to succintly state their position to the court at the initial trial. 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.
Claims NOT handled in Essex County Small Claims Court
- Malpractice (alleged malpractice by a doctor, lawyer, dentist, etc.)
- Support or alimony (from a marriage or domestic dispute)
- Probate matters (you are claiming you are owed under a will, trust, or other estate instrument)