Greene County Small Claims Court
Can I 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. Corporate entities, partnerships, and other entities cannot file in small claims court. Their actions must be filed in Commercial Claims Court. These entities can only act as defendants in small claims court. These corporate entities are able to be sued in small claims 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).
Arbitration of Small Claims Court Cases in Greene County
Arbitration is a dispute resolution process that is binding. In arbitration, an arbitrator, who is often an experienced attorney, hears arguments, weighs evidence, and issues a final judgment on the merits of a claim. 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. Arbitrators use the same law as the small claims court judge. An arbitrator’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.
Are there appeals in small claims court cases?
The window for filing an appeal is thirty days from the judgment (or thirty-five if you received the judgment in the mail). Appeals require additional fees to be filed. You must also determine if a transcript needs to be ordered. If you are interested in filing an appeal, check with the clerk of your specific court for the procedures and filing fees. A court will only overturn a judgment if it is “clearly erroneous.” Some people find it useful to consult with an attorney before deciding whether to file an appeal.
Can I file my small claims case in Greene?
A plaintiff has to bring the action in the village or town in which the defendant resides or a business has an open office.
Small Claims Court Locations in Greene County
Each town and village has its own court to handle cases from there. Greene County Small Claims Cases are handled in 17 locations for the following towns and villages: Ashland Town, Athens Town, Athens Village, Cairo Town, Catskill Town, Catskill Village, Coxsackie Town, Durham Town, Greenville Town, Halcott Town, Hunter Town, Jewett Town, Lexington Town, New Baltimore Town, Prattsville Town, Tannersville Village, and Windham Town.
The locations for the courts are:
Ashland Town CourtPO Box 129 Ashland, NY 12407
Athens Town CourtPO Box 132 Athens, NY 12015
Athens Village Court2 First Street Athens, NY 12015
Cairo Town CourtMain Street PO Box 755 Cairo, NY 12413
Catskill Town Court441 Main Street Catskill, NY 12414
Catskill Village Court422 Main Street Catskill, NY 12414
Coxsackie Town Court119 Mansion Street Coxsackie, NY 12051
Durham Town Court7309 Route 81 East Durham, NY 12423
Greenville Town CourtRoute 32 PO Box 38 Library Building Greenville, NY 12083
Halcott Town Court264 Route 3 Halcott Center, NY 12430
Hunter Town CourtPO Box 70 Tannersville, NY 12485
Jewett Town CourtPO Box 132 Jewett, NY 12444
Lexington Town CourtPO Box 92 Lexington, NY 12452
New Baltimore Town CourtPO Box 67 Hannacroix, NY 12087
Prattsville Town CourtPO Box 375 Prattsville, NY 12468
Tannersville Village Court5974 Main Street P.O. Box 967 Tannersville, NY 12485
Windham Town CourtStar Route 296 PO Box 96 Hensonville, NY 12439
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 you are the defendant, the court may grant a default judgment in your absence. Note: Court rules require that the judge wait at least one hour before holding a hearing or entering a judgment in favor of the plaintiff.
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. The defendant must file an affidavit stating the issues of fact the jury is to decide. 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 regular small claims court, six jurors are used to hear the case.
How much does it cost to file a case in Greene County?
In this County, the filing see is $10 (if the amount asked for is $1,000 or less) and $15 (if the claim exceeds $1,000).
How do I 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.
Mediation of Small Claims Court Cases in Greene County
Mediation is one way the court offers to try and settle your case without a trial. Mediation is a confidential way to try and resolve the case. It involves a mediator who will try and bring the plaintiff and defendant together to agree on a result that is fair to all (or, more likely, somewhat fair to each party). In Greene County, the mediation provider is:
Common Ground Dispute Resolution, Inc.
11 William St. Suite 2
Catskill, NY 12414
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.
What happens on day of the hearing?
You should arrive at least fifteen minutes prior to the time designated for your hearing. 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 your case is not listed on the calendar, speak with the court clerk (or judge if there is no clerk present). Courtrooms have different procedures. In some courtrooms, the clerk checks in parties as they arrive. Some courts simply have you wait until your case is called.
When your case is called, you may ask the court for a continuance or adjournment or any other request. If both parties are ready to proceed, the case will go forward.
What are Greene County Small Claims Court cases?
Small Claims Court cases are heard in the town or village court for Greene County. The limit a plaintiff can ask for is $3,000. The purpose of small claims court and the motivation behind the relaxed evidentiary rules and procedures is to allow these cases to be resolved informally and without making a party hire an attorney. If you do have a claim for more than $3,000.00, you cannot file two separate actions to bring it under the limit. The only relief available in small claims court cases is monetary. You cannot sue someone to force a person or business to perform a task (like fix a car) or return a personal item. You can only sue to recover money. A plaintiff or claimant can also sue a public entity like a city or other agency. However, you have to file a claim with that agency before filing your small claims court action. The claim must be filed within ninety days of the incident. If you fail to follow this rule, your case will be dismissed.
Can I ask for a continuance?
Small Claims Court Terms
A party is a person (or entity) on either side of the “v.” (plaintiff and defendant are each parties to the case). 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). In certain cases, a third party (ie. not the plaintiff or defendant) is brought into a case (usually by a defendant who feels the third party is partly responsible for the damage to plaintiff). A defendant who is interested in filing a third party action should contact the clerk of the local court for the property procedures and filing fees.
Can I hire an attorney to represent me in small claims court?
You do not have to hire an attorney to represent you in small claims court (even if you are a business). Small claims court rules and procedures are designed so that an attorney is not needed in order for a party to be adequately represented. A party does have a right to retain an attorney if he, she, or it wishes. If there are attorneys representing both parties, the case may be transferred to the regular civil part of the court.
What is 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 should also be able to provide the address of the defendant. For businesses, it can be a little more tricky. Contact the Greene County Clerk’s Office. They will be able to provide you with the business’s correct legal name.
How a Small Claims Court Case Begins
You must file your case in the correct location (where the defendant lives or if the defendant is a business than where the business has an open office). The court will provide you with the necessary forms to be filled out. One section of the form will ask for a statement of the case. The statement is a fancy way of asking what your case is about. This should be brief and include all 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). Most courts have a clerk who can assist you to ensure you follow the procedures (and answer questions). In the few courts that do not have clerks, the judge can assist you.
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 provides the defendant with the statement of the claim and the date and time of the hearing (this is called “service”). The notice is sent by certified mail 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. Due Process (a fancy way of saying fairness) requires that the defendant be served prior to a hearing on your case. The court will dismiss the case if the defendant cannot be served within four months. Dismissal is without prejudice meaning you can refile if you learn new information that the defendant is still residing in that village or town.