Onondaga County Small Claims Court
What happens if I don’t show up for the hearing date for my small claims court case in Onondaga County?
If the plaintiff fails to appear at the hearing, the case is dismissed. If you are the defendant and fail to show up to court, the court will enter a ruling based only on the evidence presented by the plaintiff. This could result in a “default” judgment taken against the defendant. Court rules require that the judge not enter a default judgment until one hour after the time set for the hearing.
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. Only the court can give you a continuance (even if you have talked to the other party and agreed to a later date). A party can ask for a continuance by requesting one through the mail. You should also send a copy of the request to all the other parties in the case. You can also ask for a continuance on the hearing date, but you need to be prepared in case the court refuses your request.
Can I file my small claims case in Onondaga?
The action must be brought in the town or village where the defendant resides (or has an open business office).
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 fees for filing a notice of appeal as well as additional costs for purchasing a transcript (if a court reporter was present). Consult with an attorney when you are deciding if you should file an appeal. An appellate court will only reverse a small claims court judgment if the ruling meets the “clearly erroneous” standard. Some parties benefit from consulting with an attorney prior to filing an appeal (to determine if it is even worthwhile).
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 Onondaga County, the program used for mediation is: