Livingston County Small Claims Court
Can I ask for a continuance?
The court may call a continuance an adjournment. The court generally discourages continuances in the interest of resolving disputes quickly and inexpensively. The only person with the power to move the hearing date is the court (even if both parties agree). If you want a continuance, you can ask the court through mail. You should send a copy of the request to all the parties involved in the case as well. You can also ask for a continuance on the hearing date, but you need to be prepared in case the court refuses your request.
Small Claims Court Appeals for Livingston County 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.” Some parties benefit from consulting with an attorney prior to filing an appeal (to determine if it is even worthwhile).
What are the filing costs for a case in Livingston County?
In Livingston 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).
Am I eligible to sue in small claims court?
Am I eligible to sue in small claims court?
The small claims court is available to any person who has reached the age of majority (18 years 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. When a corporate entity is sued, it can authorize an employee, director, or attorney to appear and defend it in court.
Jury Trials 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 has to fill out, under oath, a statement identifying which issues the jury will consider. The judge can either transfer the case to the regular civil part of the court (where regular evidentiary rules apply) or remain in small claims court. If the case remains in small claims court, only six jurors are used.
Livingston County Small Claims Court Locations
Each village or town has in Livingston County has its own court to handle cases arising at that town or village. Livingston County has 23 locations to handle small claims court cases for the following villages and towns: Avon Town, Avon Village, Caledonia Town, Caledonia Village, Conesus Town, Dansville Village, Geneseo Town, Geneseo Village, Groveland Town, Leicester Town, Lima Town, Livonia Town, Mount Morris Town, Mount Morris Village, North Dansville Town, Nunda Town, Nunda Village, Ossian Town, Portage Town, Sparta Town, Springwater Town, West Sparta Town, and York Town.
Here are the court locations:
Avon Town Court23 Genesse Street Avon, NY 14414
Avon Village Court23 Genesse Street Avon, NY 14414
Caledonia Town Court3095 Main Street Caledonia, NY 14423
Caledonia Village Court3095 Main Street Caledonia, NY 14423
Conesus Town CourtRoute 15 PO Box 71 Conesus, NY 14435
Dansville Village Court14 Clara Barton Street Dansville, NY 14437
Geneseo Town Court119 Main Street Geneseo, NY 14454
Geneseo Village Court119 Main Street Geneseo, NY 14454
Groveland Town Court4955 Aten Road Groveland, NY 14462
Leicester Town Court132 Main Street PO Box 226 Leicester, NY 14481
Lima Town Court7321 East Main Street PO Box 513 Lima, NY 14485
Livonia Town Court35 Commercial Street PO Box 43 Livonia, NY 14487
Mount Morris Town Court117 Main Street Mount Morris, NY 14510
Mount Morris Village Court117 Main Street Mt. Morris, NY 14510
North Dansville Town Court14 Clara Barton Street Dansville, NY 14437
Nunda Town Court4 Massachusetts Street Nunda, NY 14517
Nunda Village Court1 Mill Street Nunda, NY 14517
Ossian Town Court4706 Ossian Hill Road Dansville, NY 14437
Portage Town CourtNorth Church Street Hunt, NY 14846
Sparta Town Court7351 Route 256 Town Court Scottsburg, NY 14545
Springwater Town Court8022 South Main Street Springwater, NY 14560
West Sparta Town Court8302 Kysorville Byersville Rd Dansville, NY 14437
York Town Court2668 Main Street PO Box 187 York, NY 14592
Can I hire an attorney?
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 plaintiff or defendant can choose to hire an attorney if he or she chooses. If attorneys are representing parties on both sides of the v, (plaintiff and defendant), the court may transfer the case to the regular civil part.
How do I find the correct name for the Defendant?
If the defendant is a person, you should use the first and last name of the defendant and not a nickname. You should also be able to provide the address of the defendant. Businesses can be slightly more difficult because you may not know the structure of the business. If you contact the Livingston County Clerk’s Office, they will be able to provide you with the proper business name.
Should I use mediation for my small claims case?
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 Livingston County, the mediation provider is:
Center for Dispute Settlement, Inc.
6 Court Street
Geneseo, NY 14454
If mediation is not successful, the case remains in small claims court (with a trial). There is usually no charge for mediation (but there may be a small filing fee).
Small Claims Court Cases in Livingston County
Small Claims Court cases are heard in the town or village court for Livingston County. One can sue for $3,000.00 or less in a town or village court in Livingston County. 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 your claim exceeds $3,000, you may not split them into two separate claims to bring it 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). A party can only sue for monetary relief. 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.
Can I file a counterclaim against the Plaintiff?
A defendant can file a counterclaim against a plaintiff. The counterclaim must be filed within five days of receiving the notice of claim. The cost to file a counterclaim is $3. The counterclaim must be for money and cannot be for more than $3,000. If the counterclaim is filed after the five days, the plaintiff can ask for a later hearing date (and sometimes the court may continue the hearing out even without the plaintiff asking).
How a Small Claims Court Case Begins
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. One section of the form will ask for a statement of the 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. If your claim arises under property damage or a contract, you may claim interest on top of your damages. Most small claims courts have clerks who can assist with questions you have concerning the paperwork. If the court is small and does not have a clerk, a judge will usually fill this role.
The clerk will provide the time and date for the small claims court hearing. The clerk provides the defendant with the statement of the claim and the date and time of the hearing (this is called “service”). The clerk will provide ths notice through mail–both certified and first-class. After twenty-one days, the defendant is served unless the first-class mail was returned as undeliverable. If the defendant cannot be served by mail, the clerk can provide you with instructions on how to serve the defendant personally (the clerk will give you a new hearing date and time). For purposes of due process (which is a fancy way of saying fairness), the hearing cannot occur until after the defendant has been properly served with notice of the plaintiff’s claim. The claim will be dismissed after four months if the defendant has not been served. Dismissal is without prejudice meaning you can refile if you learn new information that the defendant is still residing in that village or town.
Should I use arbitration for my small claims court case?
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. If both parties agree to arbitration, an arbitrator will often be able to hear a claim before a judge would (because there are more arbitrators than judges). The arbitrator applies the same law to your case that the judge would. An arbitrator’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.
What happens if I don’t show up for the hearing date for my small claims court case in Livingston County?
If you are the plaintiff and fail to show up to court on the date of your case, the court will dismiss the case. 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.
Small Claims Court Terms
The party is a person, business, or other entity involved in a court case (on either side of the “v.” in the case name). A plaintiff (sometimes called claimant) is the person who initiates or begins the lawsuit. The defendant is the party who is being sued. 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). 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.
Hearing Day Procedures
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. Upon arriving, you should look for the small claims court calendar (or a clerk if there is no calendar). The calendar will list the cases that will be heard that day. They will be listed by the last name of the plaintiff and the last name of the defendant (or business name). 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, be ready to tell the judge if you are ready for the case to go forward (and the judge to hear your evidence) or if you need to make a request (like a request for a continuance). If both sides are ready, the court will proceed to hear the case.
Is Livingston County the right place to file my action?
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.