Ocean County Small Claims Court
Note: If you are under 18, the complaint for a small claims court action must be completed by an adult.
Appeals from Ocean 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. 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. 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. Additionally, you need to obtain a copy of the transcript from the original trial. The transcript is the official record of the proceedings and should have everything that was said 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.
Small Claims Court is one of three sections of Ocean Superior Court’s Special Civil Part (the other two sections are Landlord / Tenant and regular Special Civil Part). Small Claims cases allow one party to sue another for monetary damages. Small claims court rules and procedures are far less complex than in regular courts. 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 Ocean, 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.
Types of Actions Generally Filed in Small Claims Court:
- Breach of contract (written or oral)
- Seeking Return of a Down Payment
- Motor Vehicle Property Damage
- Property Damage Or Loss
- Faulty Workmanship, Defective Merchandise (and other consumer complaints)
- Payment for Labor Performed
- Action for Payment on NSF Check
- Back Rent
- Action Seeking Return of Security Deposit (Special Note: you can seek up to, and including $5,000 for return of security deposit)
What areas are served by the Ocean County Court?
The Ocean Court serves the following areas: Lakewood Township, Toms River, Brick Township, Jackson Township, Manchester Township, Berkeley Township, Lacey Township, Stafford Township, Barnegat Township, Little Egg Harbor Township, Point Pleasant, Beachwood, Plumsted Township, Ocean Township, Point Pleasant Beach, South Toms River, Tuckerton, Long Beach Township, Seaside Heights, Lakehurst, Pine Beach, Ocean Gate, Lavallette, Island Heights, Eagleswood Township, Seaside Park, Surf City, Beach Haven, Ship Bottom, Bay Head, Barnegat Light, Harvey Cedars, and Mantoloking.
Ombudsman for Ocean Small Claims Court
An Ombudsman is assigned to assist litigants from each County in New Jersey. One of the tasks charged to the Ombudsman is to assist you with questions regarding your small claims court case. The Ombudsman assigned to Ocean County is Ann Marie Fleury, Esq.. The contact information is 732-288-7212 (Telephone) and 732-288-7606 (Fax). Their email address is OcnOmbudsman.email@example.com.
Claims That Should NOT be filed in Small Claims:
- 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)
Can I file my case in Ocean 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 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 Ocean County if the business conducts business in that County. If you have multiple defendants in your case, you may file in whichever County one of the defendants is located. 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.
Special Civil Part Cases
The Special Civil Part handles cases where the amount in controversy (amount being sought by plaintiff) is more than $3,000, but less than or equal to $15,000). The rules are more formal than in small claims. Cases exceeding $15,000 are filed in the Law Division.
Location of Ocean County Small Claims Court
The Ocean County Small Claims Courthouse is located at:Ocean County Superior Court – Civil Intake 118 Washinton St., Room 121 P.O. Box 2191 Toms River, NJ 08754-2191
The Court can be reached at (732) 929-2016.