Plattsburgh City Court
   

Civil Actions 

SMALL CLAIMS JURISDICTIONAL AND GENERAL INFORMATION 

WHO CAN USE SMALL CLAIMS?
You must be an individual to use Small Claims. Corporations, Partnerships, Associations or Assignees cannot bring actions in Small Claims (see Commercial Claims if you are a Corporation, Partnership or Association).

GEOGRAPHIC JURISDICTION:
You must bring the action where the Defendant resides or where he/she is doing business at the time you start the action. Since Plattsburgh City Court has jurisdiction within Clinton County, you must provide an address within Clinton County for the defendant. You also have the option to sue in Town or Village Court if the Defendant resides outside the City of Plattsburgh.

MONETARY JURISDICTION:
Up to $5,000.00 (exclusive of interest and costs) - Money damages only.

AGE: You must be 18 years or older to bring an action in Small Claims; otherwise, the action must be brought by a parent or guardian.

NECESSARY PARTIES: If a party will be inequitably affected by a judgement 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/plaintiffs include: (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.

COMMERCIAL CLAIMS / CONSUMER TRANSACTIONS
JURISDICTIONAL INFORMATION AND DEFINITIONS

WHO CAN USE COMMERCIAL CLAIMS/CONSUMER TRANSACTION?: 
The Claimant must be a corporation, partnership, or association. A Certification of Authority must be filed indicating the office/ authority of the claimant to settle or participate in the trial on behalf of the business as well as other required forms (listed below). NO COLLECTION AGENCIES.

What is a Consumer Transaction?
A Consumer Transaction is a transaction where the money, property or service that is the subject of the transaction is primarily for personal, family or household purposes.

GEOGRAPHIC JURISDICTION:
The Claimant must have a principle office in the State of New York.

The Defendant must reside or have an office for the transaction of business or regular employment within the County. You must be able to provide the Court with an address within Clinton County for the defendant.

MONETARY JURISDICTION:
Up to $5,000.00 (exclusive of interest and costs) - for money damages only. 

NECESSARY PARTIES:
If a party will be inequitably affected by a judgement 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/plaintiffs include:
(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.

REQUIRED FORMS in COMMERCIAL CLAIMS:

CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY:
The claimant must file with the Court a Certification of Authority indicating that the claimant has the authority to settle and/or participate in a trial on behalf of the business. This form may be obtained from the Clerk of the Court.

CERTIFICATION ON LIMITATION OF COMMERCIAL CLAIM / CONSUMER TRANSACTION FILINGS:
The Claimant may file up to five (5) claims per calendar month. You will be required to file a verification that no more than five (5) commercial claims have been instituted by you anywhere in New York State during the calendar month. A Verification Form can be obtained from the Clerk of the City Court.

DEMAND LETTER CERTIFICATION (required in Consumer Transaction cases only):
The Claimant MUST file with the Court a certification attesting that a Demand Letter has been sent to the Defendant not less than 10 days nor more than 180 days from the time of the filing of the action in Commercial Claims Court. The Certification Form and a sample of a Demand Letter can be obtained from the City Court Clerk's office. 

COUNTERCLAIMS  
If you have been named as a defendant in a small claim/commercial claim/consumer transaction and have a claim against the claimant, you may bring a "counterclaim" as part of the lawsuit, for money only, up to $5,000. You should file your own Small Claim/Commercial Claim application with the Court with the filing fee (Claims can NOT be submitted via the Internet). 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 which can be obtained from the City Court.

HOW TO FILE IN THE PLATTSBURGH CITY COURT 
Once you have completed the Application for Small Claims/Commercial Claims and the REQUIRED forms (if any), you may submit your application to the Clerk of the Court located at 24 US Oval, Plattsburgh, NY 12903 with the appropriate filing fee (Claims can NOT be submitted via the Internet). The Clerk will provide you with a Court date at least twenty one days from the filing date for a hearing. The Court will send a summons with the date and a copy of the application to the opposing party.

PREPARING FOR THE HEARING/TRIAL
Anything that will help prove the facts of your case should be brought to court. This includes photographs, written agreements, an itemized bill or invoice that is receipted or marked “paid”, written estimates of the cost of the service or repairs, receipts and canceled checks. If you rely on estimates, at least two different written itemized estimates of the cost of the service or repairs are required.

Testimony, including your own, is evidence. Any witness whose testimony is important to your case may testify. This can be a person who witnessed your transaction or someone whose special knowledge and experience makes him or her an expert on the cost of the service or repairs that were provided or may be required.

At the initial appearance the Judge will offer you a chance to mediate the claim.

MEDIATION
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 appearing in front of the Court upon the filing of the appropriate paperwork. Once a small claims action has been filed with the Court, you will be offered an opportunity, immediately prior to the hearing, to meet with a trained mediator at City Court. While you are not obligated to participate in the mediation process, it is often possible to resolve your case on terms agreeable to both parties, without judicial intervention, through the assistance of trained mediators.

If you wish to contact North Country Conflict Resolution Services for further information they may be reached by:

  • Appearing in person at 22 US Oval, Suite 203, Plattsburgh, NY
  • Telephone at 518-324-5144
  • Fax at 518-561-5468

For claims involving automobiles, please also see the New York State Attorney General's Website concerning Automobile Lemon Law Issues

WITHDRAWING A SMALL CLAIM  
If you have filed a Small Claim/Commercial Claim with the City Court and the parties have resolved the matter prior to the Court hearing, you should advise the Court, in writing, immediately. The form for withdrawing a small claim/commercial claim is available. Only the individual who 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.

 

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