Wyoming County Small Claims Court
Are continuances allowed in small claims court?
The court may call a continuance an adjournment. These are discouraged in small claims court cases because the purpose of small claims court is a quick, inexpensive resolution of disputes. The only person with the power to move the hearing date is the court (even if both parties agree). 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 actual day of the hearng, but the court may be inclined to deny it (because you waited so long to ask for one). Always be prepared to go forward on that date in case the court denies your request.
What is the correct name for the defendant?
If the defendant is a person, your job is pretty easy. Use the first and last name of the defendant (do not use their nickname). The court will also ask for the address of the defendant (to send the notice of the small claims court case and hearing). Businesses can be slightly more difficult because you may not know the structure of the business. The staff at the Wyoming County Clerk’s Office can help provide you with the proper business name (we recommend contacting them before you go to court so you do not worry about it once you are there).
Mediation of Small Claims Court Cases in Wyoming County
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 Wyoming County, the program used for mediation is:
Center for Resolution and Justice
Child and Family Services
Genesee County Courts Building
One West Main Street
Batavia, NY 14020
(585) 344-2580, ext. 2440
If mediation does not resolve the issue, the case continues in small claims court. Note: If parties agree, they can enter mediation even before a case is filed. There may be a small filing fee for mediations.
Arbitration of Small Claims Court Cases in Wyoming County
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.
Small Claims Court Appeals for Wyoming County 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. Remember, an appellate court will only overturn a judgment if the ruling is “clearly erroneous.” This is why we recommend consulting an attorney to determine if an appeal is appropriate.
Small Claims Court Lingo
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. A defendant is the person or entity being sued (person who owes money). A third party is also sometimes brought into a case by a defendant if the defendant feels that the third party may be wholly or partly responsible for plaintiff’s claims. A defendant who is interested in filing a third party action should contact the clerk of the local court for the property procedures and filing fees.
Can I file my small claims case in Wyoming?
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 much does it cost to file a case?
In Wyoming County, the filing fee is $10, if you are asking for $1,000 or less, and $15, if the amount is more than that.
Can I hire an attorney?
You are not required to hire an attorney for a small claims court case. 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. 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.
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 you are a younger than 18, the parent or guardian may bring the action on your behalf. 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 entities can be sued in this court. In these cases, the corporation or partnership can authorize an attorney, director, or employee of the entity to appear on its behalf (to defend the action).
How a Small Claims Court Case Begins
You must file your case in the correct location (where the defendant lives or if the defendant is a business than where the business has an open office). The court will provide you with the necessary forms to be filled out. 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. 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 date and time of the hearing will be provided to you by the clerk. The clerk will “serve” the notice of claim by mailing it to the defendant (this is what part of your filing fee funds). This notice informs a defendant the time and location of the hearing and states the reason for the claim being made by plaintiff. The clerk sends the notice via certified 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 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. If service has not been completed within four months of filing, the claim will be dismissed. 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).
Do I get a jury trial in small claims court?
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 regular small claims court, six jurors are used to hear the case.
What happens if a party fails to appear on the hearing date?
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. 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.
Wyoming County Small Claims Court Locations
Every town and village of Wyoming County has its own small claims court to handle cases arising in that location. Wyoming County Small Claims Cases are handled in 21 locations for the following towns and villages: Arcade Town, Arcade Village, Attica Town, Attica Village, Bennington Town, Castile Town, Covington Town, Eagle Town, Gainesville Town, Genesee Falls Town, Java Town, Middlebury Town, Orangeville Town, Perry Town, Perry Village, Pike Town, Sheldon Town, Silver Springs Village, Warsaw Town, Warsaw Village, and Wethersfield Town.
Here are the court locations:
Arcade Town Court17 Church Street Arcade, NY 14009
Arcade Village Court17 Church Street Arcade, NY 14009
Attica Town Court43 Exchange Street Attica, NY 14011
Attica Village Court9 Water Street PO Box 163 Attica, NY 14011
Bennington Town Court905 Alleghany Road Attica, NY 14011
Castile Town Court51-53 North Main Street Castile, NY 14427
Covington Town Court7083 Court Road PO Box 128 Pavilion, NY 14525
Eagle Town Court3560 East Main Street Bliss, NY 14024
Gainesville Town Court43 N. Main Street P.O. Box 351 Silver Springs, NY 14550
Genesee Falls Town Court6635 Church Street Portageville, NY 14536
Java Town CourtPO Box 46 Java Center, NY 14082
Middlebury Town Court51 Sherman Avenue PO Box 274 Wyoming, NY 14591
Orangeville Town Court3529 Route 20A Warsaw, NY 14569
Perry Town Court46 N. Main Street P.O. Box 21 Perry, NY 14530
Perry Village Court46 North Main Street P.O. Box 31 Perry, NY 14530
Pike Town Court60 Main Street P.O. Box 157 Pike, NY 14130
Sheldon Town Court1380 Centerline Rd & Route 77 Strykersville, NY 14145
Silver Springs Village Court43 North Main Street Silver Springs, NY 14550
Warsaw Town Court83 Center St Warsaw, NY 14569
Warsaw Village Court83 Center St Warsaw, NY 14569
Wethersfield Town CourtRoute 78 Hermitage Town Building Wetherfield, NY 14066
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).
Wyoming County Small Claims Court
Small Claims Court cases are heard in the town or village court for Wyoming County. In small claims court, individuals can sue for up to $3,000. Small claims court cases are designed to be relatively informal (compared to normal civil cases). If you do have a claim for more than $3,000.00, you cannot file two separate actions to bring it under the limit. The only relief available in small claims court cases is monetary. You cannot sue someone to force a person or business to perform a task (like fix a car) or return a personal item. You can only sue to recover money. You are also able to sue a municipality (city, village, town, or county) and other public agencies, but the law requires you to give notice before you sue them. Notice must be given within 90 days of the incident which gives rise to your case. If you do not provide notice within this window, your case will be dismissed.
What happens on day of the hearing?
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). 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). Some courtrooms have the parties check in as they arrive. In others, the parties only check in when their 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.