Forty two Helpful Navigational Guides For Using Your Small Claims Court
list of additional purchase items that can be of use to you
The procedures governing Small Claims Actions are set out in article 18
(Small Claims) and 18-A (Commercial claims) of the New York City Civil Court Act (CCA)
ATTENTION: My attorney told me to tell you that I am NOT A
LAWYER; indeed I am an ORTHODONTIST
The original intention of my book
to show my colleagues how to go about methodically collecting the
fees for their well-deserved professional services after they exhausted
all efforts to collect by other methods rather than turning the
delinquent account over to collection agencies, (who in my opinion have
proven to be a lamentable waste of time and money). Indeed, my book offers an
array of criteria
for deciding whether or not to even file a claim in Small Claims
Court. The most important value of my book is show the reader how to
make the FEWEST mistakes possible (I made them all) and how to use
the legal tools
that are available once you won a "Judgment" in your
favor. While this book is basically a how-to primer for professionals,
"everyman" may gain invaluable knowledge from it to have his day in
court WITHOUT the need of lawyers (Pro Se) or indeed any legal knowledge
whatsoever, where he may receive "Substantial" Justice.
The documents are based alas on my extensive use of the Small Claims Court which
is a 13 minute walk from my office and my home. In all of the SCC
cases upon which my experience are based
I was the plaintiff. Finally, If you do purchase some of the documents
and they help you please write a nice review.
It is well to remember that laws/rules and procedures, etc. are constantly in flux in
every domain be it at the local area, city, or state level. Furthermore, the
judges/arbitrators themselves have a variety of approaches to meet their obligation of
dispensing "Substantial Justice."
Always check to confirm that the court in which you are going to file
the initial Claim form
(PLDZ-2) in has jurisdiction over
the party/person you intend to take to SCC. The rule is if the defendant
Lives, Works or Does business in the County where the debtor incurred the
debt to you, you can use the court in that county. Exception: in NYC you can
file an initial claim form in any one of the five Small Claims Courts in
In NY SCC you can only ask for a monetary award; the maximum is presently $5.000.
See other fees below.
Never be timid to call the Small Claims Court, Brooklyn SCC: 347 404 9021
Before initiating a case, review the "Reasons not to initiate an SCC claim."
(For example, the debtor filed for bankruptcy.)
Always call the SCC for procedural information.
Never call the SCC for legal information.
When you call the SCC office tell them who you are: "I am the plaintiff in an
Individual claim (as opposed to a "commercial claim" if you were a PC) and I
want to know
If you are a PC (Professional Corporation) or partnership the fee and procedure to file
a claim is slightly different, and some courts even use a separate form
Always request payment by a specific date in writing, and advise the
that you are going to file a claim in SCC on a given date, then do it on that date or
Never fear a counterclaim. While they sometimes do occur, they are always unfounded
and will therefore be seen as such, and will be dismissed. A claim/counterclaim is always
scheduled to be heard together.
It is possible for the defendant to file his counterclaim on the evening of your
The defendant, if he wished, could elect to have your claim against him heard by a jury
simply by paying $55-$100.
Never forget that 8 out of 10 times the defendant will NOT appear at your hearing, and
if you can support your case with documents/evidence you will win a "default judgment."
(the defendant did not show, you presented your evidence and the
Judge/arbitrator ruled in you favor.)
As the result of recent ruling state-wide 1999, (NY), both plaintiff and/or defendant
may have attorneys to represent them in the SCC without concern that the case will
automatically be referred by the Judge/Arbitrator to the next higher level of court in NY, Civil Court.
Remember that if a JUDGE hears your case, you can
file and APPEAL, but
if an ARBITRATOR hears your case it cannot be appealed. (For info on Appeals
see book Small Claims Court Step by Step Rothstein,
Never forget that judges/arbitrators are human and can make mistakes
If they do,
bite the bullet or appeal the case. You have 30 days from the time you receive the
judgment to do so, but only if your case was heard by a judge.
Never forget that the defendant will never (did I say never?) come with an attorney.
Always try to file as many claims as the court allows in one court session (2-4)
Make a template of the Initial Claim
(PLDZ-2) form with your name etc. for handy use.
Always send a staff member (over 18) to carry out court matters whenever possible.
Never send a person to the SCC if you can do the procedure by mail.
Nowadays you can file a claim by Email (be prepared to pay $15 more than the
usual fee if you filed at the court.
Always include a SSAE (Stamped self-addressed Envelope) when you request the SCC to send you paperwork.
Never forget the usefulness of the three subpoenas available at little or no cost from
the SCC: Subpoena to testify; Subpoena for Records
(PLDZ-9) (Subpoena Duces Tecum); Subpoena for
Information and Restraining Order.
You are at liberty to call the SCC to find out what is the date of the hearing you will get if you file
your claim this day. (Avoids scheduling problems.)
Always confirm with the SCC office on the date of your hearing that your name is listed
on the "Calendar." And ask what number your case is (first, tenth, last)
on the "Calendar Rollcall".
Never be timid to call the debtor/defendant just before the hearing if you are willing
to consider settling.
Never come late for the "Calendar call" on the evening of your hearing. If
you you come after the Court Clerk call your name your case will be
dismissed. However you are at liberty to file a new Initial Claim Form
(waste of money and your good time).
At the hearing try to remain calm; always be respectful to the judge (Your Honor)
or to the Arbitrator (who is usually a volunteer for free/Pro Bono attorney
You address them "Attorney/Arbitrator/Mr.
Smith") and the defendant as (Mrs. Jones). (ALWAYS BRING A PEN
AND PAPER WITH YOU TO TAKE NOTES)
For Dental Professionals: You will never be required to show your molds and X-rays, but you might upon occasion
want to reference certain dates from the patients treatment record.
In general always bring with you all the evidence that you have that can
support your claim to the money that you think is owed to you.
Always expect the defendant to put his own spin on the facts of the case.
BE POLITE--DON'T INTERRUPT WHEN THE DEFENDANT TELLS HIS STORY JUST AFTER YOU
TELL YOURS And dont
forget for a minute that your arbitrator is a trained lawyer and charged with the
responsibility of dispensing to both plaintiff and defendant an equal dose of
"Substantial Justice." (YouTube: Dr. Ted Rothstein SCC case
Always support whatever facts you provide with documentation/evidence.
Always prepare only the FACTS of your case on a 5" x 7" card and
present your case in about 5 minutes, skipping the minutia/ KIS (Keep
Always, after obtaining the Judgment in your favor
(PLDZ-10), let the "Judgment debtor"
know that you are going to act by doing 1
. and/or, 2. and/or, 3. etc., if they have
not paid you by 30 days from the date on the judgment, then take the action(s) on that
date or thereabout.
The SCC Judgment by itself does not compel a debtor to pay you. See
A SCC judgment gets "turbo-charged" only when you register it in the County
Clerks office/Supreme Court. Doing this you RUIN his credit.
Always let the debtor know that your first move will be to mar his credit report and put
a lien on his property (assets in his bank account)
(PLDZ-12) by a certain date, then do it on that date.
Or that you are going to place a garnishee on his wages.
After that let him know that you are beginning an action to garnishee his wages on a
certain date, then do it on that date.
Be aware of the "scenarios"
(PLDZ-8) that are possible after filing a claim. (See
handout and book Small Claims Court and website www.drted.com.
Never forget: all the filing fees (except attorneys) fees, unless provided by
statute or contract) are rewarded back to you after you win and collect.
Always let the court know when/if you settle the case or that the defendant has
satisfied (paid you) the judgment. All you have to do is send them a note
saying the case is settled (provide your name, defendant's name and the
Case/Index number which you were given when you filed the Initial claim
Never forget that if you accidentally/on purpose forget to go for your court hearing you
are permitted to refile your claim against that person again.J
If you are from NY visit:
Website of The New York State Bar association and
http://www.nysba.org/media/barjournal/glebovits.html Article: Special Procedures Apply To Enforcing Judgments In Small
Ted Rothstein, DDS,
Prnted April 1st 1999 and Updated
April 2, 2011
Claims Court: Brooklyn
the same for each of the five courts in NYC
Livingston St./Cor. Jay St.
404 – 9021 (legal advice not provided)
Claim: 9th Fl.
to $1000; $20 above $1000
(It will cost you an additional fee of $15)
Room: 3rd Fl.
Mon. – Thurs.
Rothstein, DDS, PhD
Orthodontics for Adults and Children
FOR SMALL CLAIMS MATTERS
Cost to file a Notice of
Claim when the amount you are claiming for is less than
Cost to file a Notice of
Claim when the amount you are claiming for is between $1,000-
Cost to file a
Cost to file a Commercial
Claim up to $5,000: $30.62
ost to file against a 3rd
party in a commercial Claim: $5.62
Cost for each additional
party in a commercial claim you want to claim against: $5.62
Cost for a Certificate of
disposition of judgment: $6.00
Cost for Certifications of
Cost for a Transcript of
Cost for a Notice of
Cost for a Jury demand
(only the defendant can demand a trial by jury) $70.00
Cost for an Information
Subpoena (obtainable only after winning a judgment) to help you locate
the "Judgment Debtor's" assets: $2.00 per information Subpoena...it is
served on the entity that may have information about the judgment
debtor's assets, i.e., a bank. There may be a maximum of 3-4 issued at
each appearance before the clerk's window.
Cost for a Subpoena for
Records ("Subpoena Duces Tecum", pronounced doo'kes tee'kum) This
Subpoena is obtained after you have verified that the your Notice of
Claim has been served on the defendant. It used when you want documents
that you know or believe the defendant possesses and want them to
produce THOSE DOCUMENTS on the night of your court hearing or before for
you to examine to help support your claim. Cost is $0.00. IT CANNOT BE
SERVED BY MAIL.