Dutchess County Small Claims Court

Dutchess County Small Claims Court

Jury Trials in Small Claims Court

Only the defendant can demand a jury trial in small claims court cases. This demand can be made at any time prior to the 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 decide whether the case will 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.

How do I file a counterclaim against the plaintiff?

A defendant may file a counterclaim against a plaintiff. If the counterclaim is filed within five days of being served with the initial claim, the hearing date remains the same. There is a $3 filing fee. A defendant can file a counterclaim after the five day window, however, the plaintiff can ask for a later hearing date (to allow the plaintiff to prepare to respond to the counterclaim) or the court may set a later hearing date on its own.

How do I find the correct name for the Defendant?

For people, you will want the person’s first and last name (their real name, and not a nickname they go by). You will also have to provide their address. You should make it a habit to collect this information from all people you deal with. Businesses are more tricky because sometimes you do not know how the business is structured. The staff at the Dutchess County Clerk’s Office can help provide you with the proper business name (we recommend contacting them before you go to court so you do not worry about it once you are there).

Can I hire an attorney to represent me in small claims court?

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.

What happens if I don’t show up for the hearing?

If the plaintiff fails to appear at the hearing, the case is dismissed. If the defendant fails to appear at the hearing, the court may grant a default judgment based on the evidence that the plaintiff presented. The Court will wait approximately one hour (in case you are simply running late) before granting a default judgment.

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 someone is younger than 18, a parent or legal guardian is able to bring an action on behalf of the minor. Corporations, partnerships, and other corporate entities must bring their action in Commercial Claims Court and are not able to act as plaintiffs in small claims court. These corporate entities are able to be sued in small claims court. When a corporate entity is sued, it can authorize an employee, director, or attorney to appear and defend it in court.

Can I ask for a continuance?

In small claims court cases, a continuance can also be called an adjournment. These are discouraged as the purpose of small claims court is a quick, efficient way of resolving disputes. Only the court can grant a continuance. You can ask for an adjournment by sending a letter to the court before your hearing date. You should also send a copy of the letter to the other party. A party may also request a continuance on the actual hearing date, but a judge may be inclined to deny this request (and you should be prepared to go forward if the judge does not grant one).

Small Claims Court Locations in Dutchess County

Every town and village of Dutchess County has its own small claims court to handle cases arising in that location. Dutchess County has 27 locations to handle small claims court cases for the following villages and towns: Amenia Town, Beekman Town, Clinton Town, Dover Town, East Fishkill Town, Fishkill Town, Fishkill Village, Hyde Park Town, LaGrange Town, Milan Town, Millbrook Village, North East Town, Pawling Town, Pawling Village, Pine Plains Town, Pleasant Valley Town, Poughkeepsie Town, Red Hook Town, Red Hook Village, Rhinebeck Town, Rhinebeck Village, Stanford Town, Tivoli Village, Union Vale Town, Wappinger Town, Wappingers Falls Village, and Washington Town.

The small claims court locations are:

Amenia Town Court

4988 Route 22
Amenia, NY 12501

Beekman Town Court

4 Main Street
Poughquag, NY 12570

Clinton Town Court

12 15 Centre Road
Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Dover Town Court

126 East Duncan Hill Road
Dover Plains, NY 12522

East Fishkill Town Court

330 Route 376
Town Hall
Hopewell Junction, NY 12533

Fishkill Town Court

807 Route 52
Fishkill, NY 12524

Fishkill Village Court

1095 Main Street
Fishkill, NY 12524

Hyde Park Town Court

1 Cardinal Road
Hyde Park, NY 12538

LaGrange Town Court

120 Stringham Road
Lagrangeville, NY 12540

Milan Town Court

20 Wilcox Circle
Milan, NY 12571

Millbrook Village Court

Merritt Avenue
PO Box 349
Millbrook, NY 12545

North East Town Court

Maple Avenue
PO Box 516
Millerton, NY 12546

Pawling Town Court

160 Charles Coleman Blvd
Pawling, NY 12564

Pawling Village Court

9 Memorial Avenue
Pawling, NY 12564

Pine Plains Town Court

3284 State Route 199
P.O .Box 320
Pine Plains, NY 12567

Pleasant Valley Town Court

Route 44, Main Street
Town Hall
Pleasant Valley, NY 12569

Poughkeepsie Town Court

17 Tucker Road
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Red Hook Town Court

7340 South Broadway
Red Hook, NY 12571

Red Hook Village Court

7467 South Broadway
Red Hook, NY 12571

Rhinebeck Town Court

80 East Market Street
Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Rhinebeck Village Court

76 East Market Street
Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Stanford Town Court

26 Town Hall Road
Town Hall
P.O. Box 436
Stanfordville, NY 12581

Tivoli Village Court

86 Broadway
PO Box 397
Tivoli, NY 12583

Union Vale Town Court

249 Duncan Road
Town Hall, Tymor Park
Lagrangeville, NY 12540

Wappinger Town Court

20 Middlebush Road
Town Hall
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590

Wappingers Falls Village Court

7 Mill Street
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590

Washington Town Court

Reservoir Drive
PO Box 667
Millbrook, NY 12545

Arbitration of Small Claims Court Cases in Dutchess County

Abitration is a type of dispute resolution that is less-formal than a trial, but more formal than mediation. At an arbitration, an arbitrator (who is usually, but not always, an experienced attorney) will allow each side to present their case. He or she will then weigh the evidence and issue a final judgment. Arbitration can only be used when all parties agree (as the outcome is binding on all parties). If you do choose arbitration, your case can be heard far quicker than waiting for a judge to hear it (which is something to keep in mind if you want a quick resolution to your case). The arbitrator uses the exact same law the judge would follow. When an arbitrator decides your case, the decision is final. There is no appeal-by either party.

What is mediation?

Mediation is an attempt to settle your case without a trial. It is a consifential way to resolve the case. Mediation involved a person acting as a mediator who will try and bring opposing parties to an agreement that all the parties can agree to. In Dutchess County, mediation services are provided by:

Mediation Center of Dutchess County, Inc.
147 Union Street, Suite 102

4 comments

  1. George Knapp says:

    I recently received a reply from the City of Poughkeepsie Assessor’s Office that my request to reduce the assessed value of my home was denied due to the supporting data was insufficient. Today, 6/26/13, I telephone the Assessor’s Office to determine why the data was insufficient and what information was required to review my request. The Assessor’s Office indicated that just the data I provided was not enough.

    Therefore, can you please advise how I can bring my concerns to the Dutchess County Small Claims Court to pursue my request to lower the assessed value of my home.

    Thank You!

    George Knapp
    138 Hudson Pointe Drive
    Poughkeepsie, N.Y. 12601

  2. maribeth catlin says:

    I requested a different court venue with Red Hook court and they gave me a court date in Red Hook anyway. My husband does process serving for one of the judges, the other judge ruled against us in a case and we are appealing his decision. I do not believe this judge would be fair and I would like this case in another court. We are the plaintiff’s. I understand we have to request a motion from Dutchess County for another court. How do we do this?? Thank you.

  3. kitsy says:

    Could I have a lawyer represent me in filing a small claim in New Jersey, where the defendant lives? Could the lawyer just send a letter in that case or would she/he need to physically show up in New Jersey? I’m unable to drive to NJ from Dutchess County. Thank you.

  4. william says:

    Do you have to be an attorney to represent someone in a small claims action????

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