Wayne County Small Claims Court
Should I use mediation for my small claims case?
Mediation is an attempt to settle your case without a trial. It is a consifential way to resolve the case. Mediation involved a person acting as a mediator who will try and bring opposing parties to an agreement that all the parties can agree to. In Wayne County, mediation services are provided by:
Center for Dispute Settlement, Inc.
54 Broad Street (mailing address)
Lyons, NY 14489
If mediation is not successful, the case remains in small claims court (with a trial). Some jurisdictions may charge a small filing fee.
How do I file a counterclaim against the plaintiff?
As a defendant, you can file a counterclaim against the plaintiff (in which you assert that plaintiff owes you money). The counterclaim needs to be filed within five days of your notice of the case, or the court may continue the hearing to a later date. The filing fee for a counterclaim is $3.00. 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).
What happens on day of the hearing?
We recommend arriving to court at least fifteen minutes before your hearing. Upon arriving, you should look for the small claims court calendar (or a clerk if there is no calendar). On the calendar, cases are listed by the last name of the plaintiff and then the defendant (or name of the business). 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.
Wayne County Small Claims Court
In Wayne County, small claims court cases are heard in the local town or village court. 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. The only form of relief you can sue for is monetary. You cannot ask the court to order a defendant to do something (like fix your property damage or fulfill the terms of a contract). A party can only sue for monetary relief. 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.
How much does it cost to file a case in Wayne County?
In Wayne County, the filing fee is $10, if you are asking for $1,000 or less, and $15, if the amount is more than that.
Arbitration of Small Claims Court Cases in Wayne County
Arbitration is a type of dispute resolution that is like a less-formal trial. 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. 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). Arbitrators use the same law as the small claims court judge. When an arbitrator decides your case, the decision is final. There is no appeal-by either party.
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. 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 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.
Small Claims Court Locations in Wayne County
Each village or town has in Wayne County has its own court to handle cases arising at that town or village. Wayne County has 21 locations to handle small claims court cases for the following villages and towns: Arcadia Town, Butler Town, Galen Town, Huron Town, Lyons Town, Lyons Village, Macedon Town, Macedon Village, Marion Town, Newark Village, Ontario Town, Palmyra Town, Palmyra Village, Rose Town, Savannah Town, Sodus Point Village, Sodus Town, Walworth Town, Williamson Town, Wolcott Town, and Wolcott Village.
The locations for the courts are:
Arcadia Town Court100 East Miller Street Newark, NY 14513
Butler Town Court4576 Butler Center Road Wolcott, NY 14590
Galen Town Court6 South Park Street Clyde, NY 14433
Huron Town Court10880 Lummisville Road Wolcott, NY 14590
Lyons Town Court43 Phelps Street Lyons, NY 14489
Lyons Village Court76 William Street Lyons, NY 14489
Macedon Town Court32 Main Street Macedon, NY 14502
Macedon Village Court81 Main Street Macedon, NY 14502
Marion Town Court3827 N Main St P. O. Box 94 Marion, NY 14505
Newark Village Court100 East Miller Street Newark, NY 14513
Ontario Town Court1846 Ridge Road PO Box 580 Ontario, NY 14519
Palmyra Town Court144 East Main Street Palmyra, NY 14522
Palmyra Village Court144 East Main Street Palmyra, NY 14522
Rose Town Court5074 North Main Street North Rose, NY 14516
Savannah Town Court1564 North Main Street Savannah, NY 13146
Sodus Point Village Court8356 Bay Street Sodus Point, NY 14555
Sodus Town Court14-16 Mill Street Sodus, NY 14551
Walworth Town Court3600 Lorraine Drive Walworth, NY 14568
Williamson Town Court6380 Route 21, Suite 2 Williamson, NY 14589
Wolcott Town Court6070 Lake Avenue PO Box 237 Wolcott, NY 14590
Wolcott Village Court6015 New Hartford Street P.O. Box 85 Wolcott, NY 14590
Small Claims Court Terms
A party is one a person, business entity, or public entity that is named as a plaintiff or defendant in a case. A “plaintiff” or “claimant” is the party who brings or initiates the action in Small Claims Court. A “defendant” is the party that 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.
Beginning a Small Claims Court Case
The case has to be filed at the court location. The court will provide the necessary forms. The forms will ask for a statement of your 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. You may be entitled to interest if the basis for your case is property damage or based on a contract. 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 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 notice is sent by certified mail and first-class mail. Once 21 days have passed, the defendant is deemed “served” unless the first-class item was returned 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). 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. The case will be dismissed without prejudice which means you can refile with the same court if you learn the defendant is still residing in that location (otherwise, if the defendant moved, you would file it in the court of the new town or village).
What about a jury trial for a small claims court case in Wayne County?
Only the defendant can demand a jury trial in small claims court cases. This demand can be made at any time prior to the hearing date. The defendant has to fill out, under oath, a statement identifying which issues the jury will consider. The judge will then decide whether the case will remain in small claims court or be transferred to the regular civil part. If the case remains in small claims court, only six jurors are used.
Is Wayne 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.
How do I get a continuance?
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. The small claims court clerk has specific information regarding fees associated with appeals. 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.
What happens if a party fails to appear on the hearing date?
If you are the plaintiff, your case is dismissed. If the defendant fails to appear at the hearing, the court may grant a default judgment based on the evidence that the plaintiff presented. 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.
Can I hire an attorney?
In small claims court cases heard in the village or town courts, you are not required to hire an attorney. 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. Sometimes, when a plaintiff and a defendant have both retained attorneys, the court can transfer the case from small claims to the regular civil part.
How do I find the correct name of 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 will also have to provide their address. You should make it a habit to collect this information from all people you deal with. Businesses are more tricky because sometimes you do not know how the business is structured. Contact the Wayne County Clerk’s Office. They will be able to provide you with the business’s correct legal name.