Sussex County Small Claims Court
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
- Motor Vehicle Property Damage
- Damage or Loss of Property
- Consumer complaints of faulty workmanship or defective merchandise
- Payment for Labor Performed
- Checks Written Without Funds in the Account
- Back Rent
- Return of security deposit (remember special rule can sue up to and including $5,000)
Small Claims Court is one of three sections of Sussex 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 Sussex, 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 a party has a claim more than $3,000, but less than $15,000.01, than the case should be filed in the 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.
Location for Small Claims Court in Sussex County
The Small Claims Court is located here:Special Civil Part Sussex County Judicial Center 43-47 High St. Newton, NJ 07860
The telephone number is (973) 579-0918.
Claims That Should NOT be filed in Small Claims:
- Malpractice (alleged malpractice by a doctor, lawyer, dentist, etc.)
- You cannot file an action for support (child) or alimony.
- You cannot file an action claiming you are owed money under a probate instrument (will or trust).
Special Civil Part in Sussex 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. If a case exceeds $15,000, the appropriate location to file the case is the Law Division of Sussex Superior Court.
Appeals from Sussex Small Claim Court Rulings
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 party seeking appeal needs to file a “Notice of Appeal”, a Case Information Statement, and a copy of the submitted Request for Transcript within the 45 day window. This is filed with the Clerk of the Appellate Division (at the Hughes Justice Complex, Trenton). 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 of the original trial proceedings needs to be obtained. The transcript is the official record of the proceedings and should have everything that was said 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. 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.
Can I file my case in Sussex 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. Hypothetically, if you wanted to sue a contractor for breach of contract, you could sue in Sussex 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 reside in a New Jersey County, you need to file your case in the County where your complaint occurred.
Ombudsman for Sussex County 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 Sussex County is Janie Rodriguez, Esq.. The contact information is 973-656-3969 (Telephone) and 973-656-3949 (Fax). The email address for the ombudsman is MrsOmbudsman.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Which locations are served by the Sussex County Small Claims Court?
The Sussex Court serves the following areas: Vernon Township, Sparta Township, Hopatcong, Wantage Township, Byram Township, Hardyston Township, Newton, Andover Township, Frankford Township, Hampton Township, Franklin, Stillwater Township, Montague Township, Stanhope, Green Township, Fredon Township, Hamburg, Lafayette Township, Ogdensburg, Sussex, Sandyston Township, Branchville, Andover, and Walpack Township.