Passaic County Small Claims Court
Can I file my case in Passaic 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 Passaic County if the business conducts business in that County. 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 no defendants in the case live in a New Jersey County, the claim needs to be filed in the County where the action arose.
Appeals from Passaic 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. 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. 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 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. A transcript is a written copy of the proceedings that occured at the trial. Transcripts can be very expensive. You are usually ordered to pay the estimate of the cost of making the transcrip or charged $300 for each day 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. 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.
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)
- You cannot file an action claiming you are owed money under a probate instrument (will or trust).
Ombudsman for Passaic County Small Claims Court
Each County has an Ombudsman assigned to assist small claims litigants (amongst other responsibilities). Part of their job responsibilities is to assist you with questions with your small claims court case. For Passaic County, that person is June Zieder who can be reached by telephone at 973-247-8651 or fax at 973-247-8012. Their email address is PasOmbudsman.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Passaic County Small Claims Court Location
The Passaic County Small Claims Court is located at:
The telephone number is (973) 247-8268.
Special Civil Part in Passaic Superior Court
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.
Small Claims Court is one of three sections of Passaic Superior Court’s Special Civil Part (the other two sections are Landlord / Tenant and regular Special Civil Part). Small Claims Court is a court where one may sue another (the defendant) to collect an amount of money that one believes is owed. Small claims court rules and procedures are far less complex than in regular courts. These simplified rules allow a party to present their case in an expedient and cost-effective manner. Generally, people file their own cases and represent themselves in court. In Passaic, 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.
Special Note: If someone is under 18, the parent or guardian must file the small claims court action on the minor’s behalf.
Types of Actions Generally Filed in Small Claims Court:
- Breach of contract (written or oral)
- Seeking Return of a Down Payment
- Damage to a Motor Vehicle
- Damage or Loss of Property
- Faulty Workmanship, Defective Merchandise (and other consumer complaints)
- Payment for Labor Performed
- Bad Checks
- Payment for Back Rent
- Action Seeking Return of Security Deposit (Special Note: you can seek up to, and including $5,000 for return of security deposit)
Areas Served by the Passaic County Small Claims Court
Passaic Court serves the following locations in Passaic County: Paterson, Clifton, Passaic, Wayne, West Milford, Hawthorne, Little Falls, Ringwood, Woodland Park, Wanaque, Pompton Lakes, Totowa, North Haledon, Haledon, Bloomingdale, and Prospect Park.