Orange County Small Claims Court
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 business, corporation, or other entity is sued, the entity is able to authorize a person (usually an employee, director, or attorney) to appear on its behalf.
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). There are fees for filing a notice of appeal as well as additional costs for purchasing a transcript (if a court reporter was present). The small claims court clerk has specific information regarding fees associated with appeals. Remember, an appellate court will only overturn a judgment if the ruling is “clearly erroneous.” Some parties benefit from consulting with an attorney prior to filing an appeal (to determine if it is even worthwhile).
What about a jury trial for a small claims court case in Orange County?
Only a defendant can make the request for a jury trial. The demand must be made prior to the hearing. (The reason a plaintiff cannot demand a jury trial is because if the plaintiff files the case in small claims court the court deems the plaintiff consenting to have factual issues determined by the judge and not a jury, otherwise the case would be filed in the regular civil part). An affidavit (sworn statement) has to be filed which identifies the factual issues a jury is needed to hear. 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.
Where are the Small Claims Courts located in Orange County?
Each town and village has its own court to handle cases from there. In Orange County, there are [COURTSNUM] separate courts for the following villages or towns:Blooming Grove Town, Chester Town, Chester Village, Cornwall Town, Crawford Town, Deerpark Town, Florida Village, Goshen Town, Goshen Village, Greenville Town, Greenwood Lake Village, Hamptonburgh Town, Harriman Village, Highlands Town, Maybrook Village, Minisink Town, Monroe Town, Monroe Village, Montgomery Town, Montgomery Village, Mount Hope Town, New Windsor Town, Newburgh Town, Otisville Village, Tuxedo Park Village, Tuxedo Town, Unionville Village, Walden Village, Wallkill Town, Warwick Town, Warwick Village, Washingtonville Village, Wawayanda Town, and Woodbury Town.
The small claims court locations are:
Blooming Grove Town CourtRoute 94 & Horton Road PO Box 358 Blooming Grove, NY 10914
Chester Town Court1786 Kings Highway Chester, NY 10918
Chester Village Court47 Main Street Chester, NY 10918
Cornwall Town Court183 Main Street Cornwall, NY 12518
Crawford Town Court121 State Route 302 Pine Bush, NY 12566
Deerpark Town Court420 Route 209 Drawer A Huguenot, NY 12746
Florida Village Court33 South Main Street PO Box 643 Florida, NY 10921
Goshen Town Court41 Webster Avenue P.O. Box 667 Goshen, NY 10924
Goshen Village Court276 Main Street Village Hall Goshen, NY 10924
Greenville Town Court1537 Us Highway 6 Port Jervis, NY 12771
Greenwood Lake Village CourtPO Box 1705 Greenwood Lake, NY 10925
Hamptonburgh Town Court18 Bull Road Campbell Hall, NY 10916
Harriman Village Court1 Church Street PO Box 706 Harriman, NY 10926
Highlands Town Court254 Main Street Highland Falls, NY 10928
Maybrook Village Court111 Schipps Lane Maybrook, NY 12543
Minisink Town CourtPO Box 349 Westtown, NY 10998
Monroe Town Court17 Lake Street Monroe, NY 10950
Monroe Village Court7 Stage Road Monroe, NY 10950
Montgomery Town Court110 Bracken Road Montgomery, NY 12549
Montgomery Village Court133 Clinton Street PO Box 116 Montgomery, NY 12549
Mount Hope Town Court11 Baker Street PO Box 872 Otisville, NY 10963
New Windsor Town Court555 Union Avenue Town Hall New Windsor, NY 12550
Newburgh Town Court311 Route 32 Newburgh, NY 12550
Otisville Village Court66 Highland Avenue Otisville, NY 10963
Tuxedo Park Village CourtLorillard Road PO Box 31 Tuxedo Park, NY 10987
Tuxedo Town CourtOne Temple Drive Tuxedo, NY 10987
Unionville Village Court7 Main Street PO Box 148 Unionville, NY 10988
Walden Village CourtMunicipal Square Walden, NY 12586
Wallkill Town Court99 Tower Drive, Bldg B Middletown, NY 10941
Warwick Town Court132 Kings Highway PO Box 489 Warwick, NY 10990
Warwick Village Court77 Main Street PO Box 369 Warwick, NY 10990
Washingtonville Village Court29 West Main Street Washingtonville, NY 10992
Wawayanda Town Court80 Ridgebry Hill Road Slate Hill, NY 10973
Woodbury Town Court511 Route 32 PO Box 509 Town Hall Highland Mills, NY 10930
Orange County Small Claims Court
Small Claims Court cases are heard in the town or village court for Orange County. The limit a plaintiff can ask for is $3,000. Small claims court cases are designed to be relatively informal (compared to normal civil cases). If your claim exceeds $3,000, you may not split them into two separate claims to bring it under the limit. A claimant or plantiff can only seek monetary relief in small claims court. You cannot ask the court to order a defendant to do something (like fix your property damage or fulfill the terms of a contract). Money is the only remedy available (on claims and counterclaims). 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.
Should I use arbitration for my small claims court case?
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 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 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.
What do I do on the hearing date?
We recommend arriving to court at least fifteen minutes before your hearing. When you arrive, look for the small claims court calendar (or the clerk). Cases are listed on the calendar by the last name of the plaintiff and the last name of the defendant (or full name of the business or other entity). If you are unable to find your case on the calendar, you should contact the court clerk (or judge if there is no court clerk). 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 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.
What are the fancy terms used in these cases?
A party is a person (or entity) on either side of the “v.” (plaintiff and defendant are each parties to the case). A “plaintiff” or “claimant” is the party who brings or initiates the action in Small Claims Court. 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 interested in filing a third party claim (as a defendant), contact the local clerk for the filing fees and local procedures.
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). The procedures and rules for small claims court are actually designed to be simple and informal so that a party does not have to hire an attorney and should be able to represent themselves. A plaintiff or defendant can choose to hire an attorney if he or she chooses. If there are attorneys representing both parties, the case may be transferred to the regular civil part of the court.
Mediation of Small Claims Court Cases in Orange 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 Orange County, the mediation provider is: