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Small Claims Court

Does someone owe you money? Has your landlord unjustifiably failed to return your security deposit? Did you order merchandise that the retailer has failed to deliver? Has a merchant failed to comply with the terms of a guarantee?

If so, you should consider the possibility of bringing a lawsuit in small claims court. You may not need an attorney, and the rules are simpler than in most court proceedings.

Any individual and any corporation doing business can sue or be sued in small claims court.

Small claims court may be used only for certain types of cases:

  • Lawsuits (such as breach of contract, property damage or personal injury) when the amount claimed is $5,000 or less
  • All evictions, regardless of the amount of rent claimed
  • Actions for the return of earnest money tendered pursuant to a contract for purchase of real property, regardless of the amount claimed
  • Replevins (repossessions of property) if the value of the property does not exceed $5,000 or if the property is consumer goods leased or purchased on credit from a dealer
  • Actions for the confirmation, vacation, modification or correction of an arbitration award where arbitration was in settlement of a controversy arising out of a transaction for the purchase of real property, regardless of the amount of that award
  • Garnishments (to enforce judgments from funds owed to the debtor) when the amount owed is $5,000 or less
  • Property Taxes (suits by municipalities to recover delinquent personal property taxes)


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