What is Small Claims Court?

The Small Claims Court is an informal court where individuals can sue for money only, up to $3,000 in Town or Village Courts, and $5,000 in City Courts, without a lawyer. If you have a claim for damages for more than $3,000/5,000 you cannot separate it into two or more claims to meet the $3,000/5,000 limit.

If you believe that a person or business damaged something you own, you may sue that person or business for the monetary amount of your damages. You cannot sue in Small Claims Court to force a person or business to perform a task, such as to fix a damaged item, or to fulfill a promise made in an advertisement. The court may not order the return of a personal item. Your lawsuit may be for money only.

You may sue a municipality (i.e., a town, village, city or county), public benefit corporation, school district or school district public library in Small Claims Court. However, the law requires you to noti- fy the municipality of your intention to sue. Notice must be given to the municipality within 90 days after the occurrence of the incident that is the subject of your suit. If you do not notify the municipality within 90 days of the incident, your case may be dismissed.

You must bring your claim in the municipality (or, if it’s a city court action, in the county) in which the person or entity you are suing resides, or has an office for the transaction of business or regular employment.

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