Tioga County Small Claims Court
Can I 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 younger than 18, your parent or legal guardian is able to sue 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 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.
What happens if I don’t show up for the hearing?
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 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. The Court will wait approximately one hour (in case you are simply running late) before granting a default judgment.
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). 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).
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. 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 you cannot find your case, you should contact the clerk (or judge if there is no 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 is arbitration?
Arbitration is a dispute resolution process that is binding. 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. 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. The arbitrator applies the same law to your case that the judge would. The final judgment issued by the arbitrator cannot be appealed by any party.
Where are the Small Claims Courts located in Tioga County?
Every town and village of Tioga County has its own small claims court to handle cases arising in that location. Tioga County has 13 locations to handle small claims court cases for the following villages and towns: Barton Town, Berkshire Town, Candor Town, Candor Village, Newark Valley Town, Nichols Town, Owego Town, Owego Village, Richford Town, Spencer Town, Spencer Village, Tioga Town, and Waverly Village.
Here are the court locations:
Barton Town Court304 Route 17C Waverly, NY 14892
Berkshire Town Court18 Railroad Avenue Berkshire, NY 13736
Candor Town Court101 Owego Road POB 6 Candor, NY 13743
Candor Village Court101 Owego Road PO Box 6 Candor, NY 13743
Newark Valley Town Court109 Whig Street Newark Valley, NY 13811
Nichols Town CourtPO Box 379 Town Hall Nichols, NY 13812
Owego Town Court2354 State Route 434 Apalachin, NY 13732
Owego Village Court90 Temple Street #2 Owego, NY 13827
Richford Town CourtPO Box 170 Richford, NY 13835
Spencer Town Court79 East Tioga Street Spencer, NY 14883
Spencer Village Court41 Main Street P.O. Box 346 Spencer, NY 14883
Tioga Town Court54 5th Avenue Barton, NY 13734
Waverly Village Court32 Ithaca Street Waverly, NY 14892
Can I file my small claims case in
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.
What are the filing costs for a case in Tioga County?
In Tioga County, the filing fee is $10, if you are asking for $1,000 or less, and $15, if the amount is more than that.
How do I begin a Small Claims Court case?
How do I begin a Small Claims Court case?
You must go to the Small Claims Court to file your case. The court will provide the necessary forms. One section of the form will ask for a statement of the case. The statement should be brief and include a description of the incident that is the basis of your claim. You should include all important names and dates. You may be entitled to interest if the basis for your case is property damage or based on a contract. A court will generally have a clerk who is available to assist with questions regarding the forms (and answer other questions). If a court does not have a clerk, generally the judge is available to help you with these questions.
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 will “give notice” to the defendant of the case which includes the statement of the case as you wrote it and the date and time of the hearing. This is called serving the defendant. 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 a defendant cannot be served by mail, then the clerk will provide you with instructions on how the defendant can be personally served. The court (via the clerk or judge) will likely 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. However, if you learn new information of the defendant’s location, you can refile in that court (or the new court where the defendant is now located).
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 Tioga County, the mediation provider is: