and How to File Your Small Claims
use Small Claims Court?
You must be an individual (or an individual d/b/a) to use a Town or Village
Small Claim Court. Corporations, Partnerships, Associations or Assignees
cannot bring actions in a Town or Village Small Claims. If you are a Corporation,
Partnership, Association or Assignee you may bring a Commercial Small
Claim in the Oneonta City Court, which has county-wide jurisdiction over
commercial claims as well as small claims.
You must start your lawsuit where the Defendant resides or where he/she
is doing business at the time you bring the action. The Town of Otsego
Court has jurisdiction within the Town of Otsego, therefore you must provide
an address within the Town of Otsego for the defendant. You also have
the option to sue in Oneonta City Court if the Defendant resides anywhere
in Otsego County.
Up to $3,000.00 (exclusive of interest and costs) - Money damages only.
In other words, if you prove your claim you can only be awarded money
- you cannot get objects or things or performance from the losing party.
You must be 18 years or older to start an action in Small Claims; otherwise,
the action must be brought by a parent or guardian.
If a party will be inequitably affected by a judgment rendered by a Court
(that is, his/her right to litigate a claim or recover damages against
a named defendant could be determined by the case being heard), that person
must be named as a claimant/plaintiff in the case. If such a person refuses
to join the case as a plaintiff, then he/she may be named as a defendant
(CPLR sec. 1101[a]). Two examples of people who should be joined as claimants/
(1) co-tenants on a lease in
a claim against a landlord;
(2) when the owner of, operator
of and riders in an automobile are different people in a negligence action
for property damage and personal injuries.
Guide To Small Claims Court"
a Small Claims Application by clicking here
If you have been named as a defendant in a small claim and have a claim
against the claimant, you may bring a "counterclaim" as part
of the lawsuit, for money only, up to $3,000. You should file your own
Small Claim Application with the Court with the filing fee (Counter Claims
can NOT be submitted via the Internet or by mail). Click here for the
application. You must inform the Court that you are filing a counterclaim
and inform the Court of the case name and docket number of the case to
which you are filing a counterclaim. You must be prepared to prove the
counterclaim on the day you go to Court.
A counterclaim should be filed
within 5 days of your receipt of the summons and notice of claim. However,
if you file a counterclaim after the 5 days has elapsed, the claimant
in the initial proceeding may request an adjournment of the hearing date.
The Court must grant the adjournment request.
If you are a corporation, partnership
or association filing a counterclaim, you must submit to the Court a Certification
of Authority (click here for a Certificate
here for Important Information for Defendants about Small Claims Court
How to File in The Town of
1. Once you have completed the Small Claims Application (download
here), you should bring your application to the Clerk of the Court
located at the 811 County Highway 26, Fly Creek, New York with the appropriate
filing fee (Claims can NOT be submitted via the Internet or by mail).
2. The Clerk will prepare and
serve a Summons and provide you with a Court date at least 35 (and usually
not more than 45) days from the date of filing for the hearing of your
3. Appear in court on the date
of your hearing with your witnesses (if any) and all relevant papers and
documents which must be submitted at the time of the hearing.
Withdrawing A Small Claim
If you have filed a Small Claim with the Town Court and the parties have
resolved the matter prior to coming for the Court hearing, the plaintiff
should advise the Court, in writing, immediately. Only the individual
that filed the claim can withdraw the matter and must have his/her signature
notarized by a notary public or acknowledged at the Court Clerk's office.
If you and the opposing party wish to attempt to mediate your conflict
or disagreement, you may do so before or after you have commenced a small
claims action with the Court. If an action has not been commenced and
mediation is not successful, you will still have the option of proceeding
to a court action upon the filing of the appropriate court paperwork.
In most cases, once a small claims action has been commenced with the
Court, the Mediation Services, Inc. office will contact you and the opposing
party to schedule a mediation session. While you are not obligated to
participate in any mediation service, it is often possible to resolve
your case on terms agreeable to both parties, without court intervention,
through this dispute and conflict management agency.
If you started a case in Small
Claims Court and the case is settled prior to trial through mediation,
the filing fee that you paid to commence the Small Claims action is not
automatically included in the Notice of Judgment issued by the Town Court.
If the filing fee is to be reimbursed to the plaintiff by the defendant,
this must be indicated in the settlement agreement. Court costs are not
awarded to either party unless specifically agreed to and included in
the mediation agreement.
You may contact Mediation Services,
Inc. at 607-433-1672.
here for more information about mediation