Mercer County Small Claims Court
What Actions are Normally Filed in Mercer Small Claims Court?
- Breach of contract (written or oral)
- Seeking Return of a Down Payment
- Action for Property Damage to a Motor Vehicle
- Damage or Loss of Property
- Faulty Workmanship, Defective Merchandise (and other consumer complaints)
- Payment for Labor Performed
- Checks Written Without Funds in the Account
- Actionf or Back Rent
- Recovery of Security Deposit (Special Note: Can ask for up to and including $5,000 for recovery of a security deposit)
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. Cases exceeding $15,000 are filed in the Law Division.
Small Claims Court is one of three sections of Mercer 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. Because of this, one is able to file and present a case quickly and inexpensively. Generally, people file their own cases and represent themselves in court. In Mercer, 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 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. 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.
Should I file my small claims case in Mercer 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 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 Mercer County, you may file your case here. If you have multiple defendants in your case, you may file in whichever County one of the defendants is located. If no defendants reside in a New Jersey County, you need to file your case in the County where your complaint occurred.
Special Note: If someone is under 18, the parent or guardian must file the small claims court action on the minor’s behalf.
Mercer County Ombudsman
An Ombudsman is assigned to assist litigants from each County in New Jersey. They can assist you with questions you may have about your small claims case. For Mercer County, that person is Gina Goldstein who can be reached by telephone at 609-571-4205 or fax at 609-571-4208. The email address for the Mercer County Ombudsman is MerOmbudsman.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Location of Mercer County Small Claims Court
The Small Claims Court is located here:
The Court’s telephone number is (609) 571-4490.
Appeals from Mercer 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). 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. Additionally, the person seeking an appeal has to pay a filing fee of $200. An additional deposit of $300 is required to be posted 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. A transcript also needs to be obtained (hence the Notice of Requested Transcript listed above). 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). 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 Mercer County Small Claims Court
- Any malpractice action (these are usuall filed against doctors, lawyers, dentists, etc.)
- You cannot file an action for support (child) or alimony.
- Any action regarding a payment under a will (or other probate matters)
Which locations are served by the Mercer County Small Claims Court?
The Mercer Court serves the following areas: Hamilton, Trenton, Ewing Township, Lawrence Township, Princeton, East Windsor Township, West Windsor Township, Hopewell Township, Robbinsville Township, Hightstown, Pennington, and Hopewell.