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Ithaca City court


Civil Actions

If a case does not fall within the jurisdiction of small claims court or summary proceedings, then you may be able to bring a civil action in the City Court.

Monetary Jurisdiction (Uniform City Court Act, sec. 202):

The Court shall have jurisdiction of actions and proceedings for the recovery of money or
personal property where the amount sought to be recovered or the value of the property
does not exceed $15,000, exclusive of interest and costs.

Counterclaims filed in response to a Summons and Complaint do not have a monetary limit.

Geographical Jurisdiction (Uniform City Court Act, sec 213):

To bring a civil action in the City Court, EITHER the plaintiff or the defendant must:

1. be a resident of the City or be a resident of a town contiguous to the City; or
2. have regular employment within the City; or
3. have a place for the regular transaction of business within the City.

A suit is commenced in the City Court upon service of a summons and complaint upon a defendant and the timely filing of the summons and complaint with the Court with the appropriate court fee (click here for fees).

If, after all discovery and depositions have been completed, a civil action is to proceed to trial, a trial note of issue must be filed for either a non-jury or jury trial (click here for fees). If the amount of damages sought are $6,000 or less, the case is sent to mandatoryarbitration. If the amount of damages exceeds $6,000 (up to the jurisdictional limit), the case will be scheduled for trial before a City Court Judge or Jury or, in the alternative, the parties may agree to have their case referred to arbitration.

If the parties agree to have their case referred to arbitration, the decision of the arbitrator is binding. The Court's power to vacate or modify the award is limited (CPLR sec. 7511).

If a civil action is referred to mandatory arbitration and one of the parties is not satisfied with the arbitrator's decision, either party may request a trial before a City Court Judge by filing for aTrial de Novo with the Clerk of the City Court with the appropriate fee (click here for fee).

It is RECOMMENDED that a plaintiff seek the advice of counsel in filing a civil action. Please note that the Court cannot provide legal assistance.