Small claim proceedings are meant for individuals to present their case to the court, but either side may hire an attorney to represent them.
New York State small claim limit for justice courts is $3,000.
The Town Justices have jurisdiction over small claims, provided that the defendant(s):
- Resides in the Town
- Has/have an office for the transaction of business within the Town
Is regularly employed within the Town.
A more complete description of the process is provided online by the Ithaca City Court. Anyone filing a small claim must visit the court clerk for a Small Guide Booklet and the required forms to fill out.
If a ruling is made in favor of the plaintiff, the court will send a Notice of Judgment to both parties. The defendant will have 30 days to make good on that judgment. If the Debtor (the losing defendant) fails to pay, the Creditor (the winning plaintiff) may take steps to collect or execute the judgment by getting a Transcript of Judgment from the court and then file a lien with Tompkins County Court. The court does not collect judgments.