How to File a Small Claims Court Claim in Rochester, New York

New York is home to 62 different counties, each with its own small claims court. The small claims court in Monroe County is in Rochester. Small claims differ from a standard civil lawsuit. In New York, the amount of money you can recover in small claims court is capped at $5,000. The advantage of small claims court, however, is that the matter is resolved much quicker than it would be if filed in the regular civil court. Only individuals can bring a small claims lawsuit; corporations and business entities cannot, but they can be sued.

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Analyze the facts of your case to ensure that the Rochester small claims court is the proper court to file your lawsuit. Either the incident giving rise to the lawsuit must have occurred in Rochester or Monroe County or else the defendant must live in Rochester or Monroe County.

Review the amount of "damages" you suffered as a result of the defendant’s actions. Damages refers to the amount of harm you suffered. Measure monetary damages by adding up bills and debts that occurred as a result of the defendant’s actions. This includes adding up medical bills, late fees or loss in profit. The total amount should be $5,000 or less; if it is more, you should file your suit in the regular civil court.

Obtain an “Application to File Small Claim.” This form is available at the small claims court in Rochester located at:

Rochester City Court 99 Exchange Blvd. Rochester, NY 14614

You can also find this form at the New York State Courts website in the “A Guide to Small Claims Court” section.

Fill out the application to file the small claim. On the form, list the date the incident giving rise to the lawsuit occurred, the names and addresses of the parties involved, the amount you are asking for and a description of the incident.

File the application with the clerk at the small claims court. Pay the required filing fee. Fees vary based on the amount of claim; as of 2010, it costs $15 for a claim less than $1,000 and $20 for a claim over $1,000.

After you file your claim, the clerk will schedule a hearing and mail the defendant notice of the claim.