Broome County Small Claims Court
Should I use mediation for my small claims case?
Mediation is a confidential, non-binding dispute resolution program in which an impartial mediator attempts to bring both parties together to a mutually acceptable outcome. A judge may refer a case to mediation if both parties agree. In Broome County, the program used for mediation is:
ACCORD, A Center for Dispute Resolution, Inc.
30 West State St., 2nd Floor
Binghamton, NY 13901
If a case cannot be settled at mediation, the case remains with the small claims court (and proceeds to trial). There may be a small filing fee for mediations.
Are there appeals in small claims court cases?
A party has 30 days from the date of the judgment to file a notice of appeal (or 35 days if you were mailed the court’s judgment). There are additional fees you need to file as well as determining whether a transcript of the case needs to be ordered. Consult with an attorney when you are deciding if you should file an appeal. A court will only overturn a judgment if it is “clearly erroneous.” This is why we recommend consulting an attorney to determine if an appeal is appropriate.
Am I eligible to sue in small claims court?
Small clams court is open to any party who is a person 18 years of age or older. If you are a younger than 18, the parent or guardian may bring the action on your behalf. Usually, corporations, partnerships, or other assignees are unable to sue in Small Claims Court (but they can bring an action in Commercial Claims Court which is located at the same court where your small claims court case would normally be filed). These entities can be sued in this court. In these cases, the corporation or partnership can authorize an attorney, director, or employee of the entity to appear on its behalf (to defend the action).
Do I get a jury trial in small claims court?
A defendant (and only a defendant) can request a jury trial for a small claims court case. The demand must be made prior to the actual hearing date. An affidavit (sworn statement) has to be filed which identifies the factual issues a jury is needed to hear. The judge will then determine if the case should remain in small claims court or be transferred to the regular civil part. If the case remains in small claims court, only six jurors are used.
What do I do on the hearing date?
We recommend arriving at least fifteen minutes prior so you can have time to check in and make sure you are at the right place. When you arrive, you should look for the small claims court calendar or for a clerk to assist you. On the calendar, cases are listed by the last name of the plaintiff and then the defendant (or name of the business). If you cannot find your case, you should contact the clerk (or judge if there is no clerk). In some courtrooms, the clerk may check people in as they arrive. In others, you must wait until your case is called.
When the judge or clerk calls your case, you should be prepared to tell the judge if you are ready for the case to proceed, ask for a continuance if you want one (and be ready to state a good reason for one), or any other request you may need to make. If both parties are ready, the case will proceed.
How do I get a continuance?
How do I begin a Small Claims Court case?
The case has to be filed at the court location. Visit the court for that town or village, and the court will provide you with the paperwork to begin the action. The forms will ask for a statement of your case. This is the term the court uses to ask what your case is about. Your statement of the case should be concise but still include all the important facts. You should note in the statement of the case if you are requesting interest (which happens if your case concerns property damage or a contract specifies an interest amount). A court will generally have a clerk who is available to assist with questions regarding the forms (and answer other questions). If a court does not have a clerk, generally the judge is available to help you with these questions.
The logistics (date and time) of the hearing will be provided to you by the court (the small claims court may not hear cases every day). The clerk will “give notice” to the defendant of the case which includes the statement of the case as you wrote it and the date and time of the hearing. This is called serving the defendant. The clerk sends the notice via certified and first-class mail. If the notice sent by first-class mail is not returned as undeliverable, the defendant is deemed to be “served,” even if the notice sent by certified mail has not been delivered (otherwise a defendant could simply refuse to sign for the certified mail). If the post office cannot deliver notice of the claim and you believe the person still resides in that village or town, the court (clerk) will give you a new hearing date and will instruct you on how to personally serve the defendant. Pursuant to due process, a hearing cannot occur until the defendant has been served. If service has not been completed within four months of filing, the claim will be dismissed. Dismissal is without prejudice meaning you can refile if you learn new information that the defendant is still residing in that village or town.
What are Broome County Small Claims Court cases?
In Broome County, small claims court cases are heard in the local town or village court. The limit a plaintiff can ask for is $3,000. These cases are designed to be resolved informally (so a party does not have to hire an attorney). Note: If you have a claim for more than $3,000, you cannot separate it into two claims to be under the limit. The only form of relief you can sue for is monetary. A party cannot sue to ask the court to order a defendant to take action (ie. fulfill the terms of an advertisement). You can only sue to recover money. A party may sue a municipality or other public entity. The law requires you to file a claim with that entity within 90 days of the incident which gives rise to your claim. If you do not do this, your case can be dismissed.
How do I find the correct name of the defendant?
If the defendant is a person, your job is pretty easy. Use the first and last name of the defendant (do not use their nickname). The court will also ask for the address of the defendant (to send the notice of the small claims court case and hearing). Businesses are more tricky because sometimes you do not know how the business is structured. Contact the Broome County Clerk’s Office. They will be able to provide you with the business’s correct legal name.
Can I file my small claims case in Broome?
You must bring your action in the municipality (location – village or town) in which the person or business you are suing resides (lives) or has an office open for business.
Do I have to hire an attorney?
You are not required to hire an attorney for a small claims court case. In fact, the rules and procedures are designed to be informal so that you should not have to retain an attorney. A plaintiff or defendant can choose to hire an attorney if he or she chooses. Sometimes, when a plaintiff and a defendant have both retained attorneys, the court can transfer the case from small claims to the regular civil part.
How do I file a counterclaim against the plaintiff?
As a defendant, you can file a counterclaim against the plaintiff (in which you assert that plaintiff owes you money). The counterclaim needs to be filed within five days of your notice of the case, or the court may continue the hearing to a later date. The filing fee for a counterclaim is $3.00. Note: you can still file your claim after the five day window, but the judge then has the option of pushing back the hearing date (but no longer than twenty days). As the plaintiff, you have a right to ask for a continuance in this case.
What are the fancy terms used in these cases?
The party is a person, business, or other entity involved in a court case (on either side of the “v.” in the case name). The plaintiff (sometimes referred to as a claimant) is the person (or entity) that begins the lawsuit (by a filing at the courthouse). A defendant is the person or entity being sued (person who owes money). Sometimes, a third party (not the plaintiff or defendant) is brought into the case where a defendant files a third party claim asserting that another party is responsible for plaintiff’s damages. If you are the defendant and are interested in bringing in a third party, contact the court involved with your action about beginning a third party action.
Arbitration of Small Claims Court Cases in Broome County
Arbitration is a type of dispute resolution that is like a less-formal trial. In arbitration, a person (called an arbitrator who is usually an attorney) will hear evidence of the case that each party presents. The arbitrator will then weigh the evidence with the law and issue a final judgment. Arbitration will only be used if both parties agree (because it is binding). Additionally, you will likely be able to have your case decided faster than if you wait to have a judge hear it. The arbitrator applies the same law to your case that the judge would. When an arbitrator decides your case, the decision is final. There is no appeal-by either party.
Small Claims Court Locations in Broome County
Each town and village has its own court to handle cases from there. Broome County has 19 locations to handle small claims court cases for the following villages and towns: Barker Town, Binghamton Town, Chenango Town, Colesville Town, Conklin Town, Deposit Village, Dickinson Town, Endicott Village, Fenton Town, Johnson City Village, Kirkwood Town, Lisle Town, Maine Town, Nanticoke Town, Sanford Town, Triangle Town, Union Town, Vestal Town, and Windsor Town.
The small claims court locations are:
Barker Town Court151 Hyde Street P.O. Box 66 Castle Creek, NY 13744
Binghamton Town Court279 Park Avenue Binghamton, NY 13903
Chenango Town Court1529 Route 12 Binghamton, NY 13901
Colesville Town Court780 Welton Street P.O. Box 166 Harpursville, NY 13787
Conklin Town Court1271 Conklin Road PO Box 182 Conklin, NY 13748
Deposit Village Court146 Front Street Deposit, NY 13754
Dickinson Town Court531Old Front Street Binghamton, NY 13905
Endicott Village Court225 Jefferson Avenue Endicott, NY 13760
Fenton Town Court44 Park Street Port Crane, NY 13833
Johnson City Village Court31 Avenue C, Suite 2 Johnson City, NY 13790
Kirkwood Town Court70 Crescent Drive Town Hall Kirkwood, NY 13795
Lisle Town CourtPO Box 247 Lisle, NY 13797
Maine Town Court12 Lewis Street PO Box 141 Maine, NY 13802
Nanticoke Town CourtP.O. Box 71 Glen Aubrey, NY 13777
Sanford Town Court18 Church Street Deposit, NY 13754
Triangle Town Court2612 Liberty Street PO Box 289 Whitney Point, NY 13862
Union Town Court31 Avenue C – Second Floor Suite 3 Johnson City, NY 13790
Vestal Town Court605 Vestal Parkway West Vestal, NY 13850
Windsor Town Court124 Main Street Room 2 Windsor, NY 13865
What are the filing costs for a case in Broome County?
In Broome County, the fee to file a Small Claims Court case is $10 (if your claim amount is $1,000 or less) or $15 (if the claim is for more than $1000.00).
What happens if I don’t show up for the hearing?
What happens if I don’t show up for the hearing?
If you are the plaintiff, your case is dismissed. If you are the defendant, the court may grant a default judgment in your absence. The Court will wait approximately one hour (in case you are simply running late) before granting a default judgment.