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Starting a Case

Anyone 18 years of age or over can sue in Small Claims Court. If you are younger than 18, your parent or guardian may sue on your behalf. Only an individual can sue in Small Claims Court. Corporations, partnerships, associations, or assignees cannot sue in Small Claims Court. However, they can be sued in Small Claims Court. If you are a corporation, partnership, association or assignee, you can bring a Commercial Claim or Consumer Transaction. For more information, click on Commercial Claims and Consumer Transactions.

In general, the person suing is called the claimant. The person being sued is called the defendant. You may sue more than one person at the same time.

You must be the proper person to sue in Small Claims Court. For example, if you are involved in an accident while driving an automobile that is not registered in your name, you cannot sue for the damage caused to the automobile during the accident. Only the registered owner of the automobile can sue for the damages caused to the automobile.

To learn more about bringing a Small Claims Court case, continue reading below. You can also read the law on this procedure, by clicking on Civil Court Act section 1803 .

Where to Sue: Venue

A claimant must begin the lawsuit in the proper county. In general, a claimant can sue in the county where either party resides. If no party resides within the City, the action can be brought in the county where either party has employment or a business address. If the defendant does not have a residence, employment, or have a business address within the City of New York, you cannot bring the lawsuit in the Small Claims Court. To find the location in your county, click on Locations .

Starting the Case

To begin an action in Small Claims Court, a person, or someone acting on his or her behalf, must come to the Small Claims Court Clerk s office in the proper county and fill out a statement of claim. To find out where the clerk s office is located in your county, click on Locations. To find out when the Small Claims Court Clerk s office is open, click on Court Hours. You may also use an outside service to fill out your statement of claim and electronically file it with the Court. If you are interested in starting your case this way, click on electronic filing .

The person filling out the statement of claim must be able to explain the reason for the lawsuit, know the amount of the claim, and have the correct name and address, including zip code, of the person or business that is being sued. If you are not sure of the correct name of the business, you should go to the County Clerk s office in the county where the business is located and look up the certificate of doing business, photocopy the certificate and bring it to the court. The person filling out the statement of claim must be able to explain the reason for the lawsuit, know the amount of the claim, and have the correct name and address, including zip code, of the person or business that is being sued. If you are not sure of the correct name of the business, you should go to the County Clerk s office in the county where the business is located and look up the certificate of doing business, photocopy the certificate and bring it to the court. View and print the small claims claim form.

You can watch a short tutorial to explain how to fill in the form.

Small Claims Form Instructions:
Video (run time: 4:52 minutes/seconds, Windows Media format )
Written Transcript

You will have to pay the court fee to file your claim. If your claim is for an amount up to and including $1,000.00, there is a fee of $15.00. If your claim is for an amount over $1,000.00 and up to $5,000.00, there is a fee of $20.00. The fee must be paid by cash, certified check, money order or bank check made out to Clerk of the Civil Court. Personal checks will not be accepted.

The clerk will give you a date for the hearing. Small Claims Court hearings are usually held at 6:30 p.m. If you are a senior citizen, a disabled person, or a person who works during the evening, you may request that your small claims hearing be heard during the day. You or the person appearing on your behalf must show proof of age, or disability, or nighttime employment. The proof can be in the form of a letter from your job or from a doctor, a driver s license showing your birth date, or other similar documents.

If you live outside the City of New York and want to sue a party within the City of New York, you may file your claim by mail. Contact the Small Claims Court Clerk s office in the county where the defendant lives, works or has a place of business to obtain the necessary form.

The court system does not provide electronic filing at this time. However, several private vendors provide this service. The service provided by each of the vendors is different, and you must review their requirements. We advise that you review this entire website, as it offers a lot of information on how to proceed with your case.

The current vendors are:

Notifying the Defendant

After your claim is filed, the Small Claims Court clerk will serve a notice of your claim by sending it to the defendant. The notice of claim tells the defendant when to appear in Small Claims Court, and includes a brief statement of your claim and the amount of money you are requesting.

The notice of your claim will be sent to the defendant by certified mail and by ordinary first class mail. If the notice sent by ordinary first class mail is not returned by the post office within 21 days as undeliverable, the defendant is presumed to have received notice of your claim, even if the notice of claim sent by certified mail has not been delivered.

If the post office cannot deliver the notice of your claim (for example, the defendant may have moved without leaving a forwarding address), the court clerk will give you a new hearing date and will tell you how to arrange for personal delivery of the notice to the defendant. Anyone who is not a party to the small claim and who is 18 years of age or older can personally deliver the notice of claim to the defendant. The claimant or any other party to the action may not serve the notice of claim personally on the defendant.

If the notice of claim cannot be served on the defendant within 4 months after you filed your claim, your claim will be dismissed. If you learn new information about the defendant s location at a later date, you can file your claim again.

A small claims case will not proceed to trial until the defendant has been served with a notice of your claim.

The defendant may want to file a counterclaim. For information about this procedure, click on Counterclaims .

Preparing for Court

Before the date of the hearing, you should gather all the evidence that supports your claim or your defense. Evidence may include: photographs, a written agreement, an itemized bill or invoice marked paid, receipts, at least two itemized written estimates of the cost of services or repairs, a canceled check, a damaged item or article of clothing, or letters or other written documents. If there are records that are not in your possession, you may wish to subpoena them to be produced at the hearing date. For information about this procedure, click on Subpoenas .

You should also prepare any witnesses you plan to testify at the hearing in support of your claim or defense. The testimony of a person who has special or expert knowledge and experience concerning the subject of your claim may be necessary for you to prove your case. For example, if your claim involves the quality of medical care, you must find a doctor who is willing to give an opinion, in court, about the quality of the care you received. While you might find an expert witness who will testify at no cost to you, it is more likely that you will have to pay for an expert witness testimony.

If a witness, other than an expert witness, will not testify voluntarily, you can serve the witness with a subpoena requiring them to appear in court and testify. For information on how to do this, click on Subpoenas.


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The D.C. Bar s unique and extremely successful Continuing Legal Education ( CLE ) Program is the subject of a feature article in the June 2017 Washington Lawyer Magazine. Diane Seltzer Torre, Chair of the CLE Committee who teaches numerous CLE programs each year, is quoted throughout the article regarding the courses offered and what sets the CLE.

Happiness is not an automatic by-product of practicing law for many reasons. Maybe going solo is right for you

The Judges of the United States District Court of Maryland gave Diane Seltzer Torre their Exceptional Service Award

Employment law and civil rights law are constantly evolving areas of law. By focusing its practice on employment and civil rights matters, the Seltzer Law Firm is able to stay abreast of the latest developments in these fields, which best ensures that the firm s clients receive advice based on up-to-the-minute changes in the law.

The Seltzer Law Firm concentrates on employment law and civil rights litigation. The Firm s philosophy is to provide practical solutions to complex, as well as common, workplace issues. We appear before all federal and state trial and appellate courts in the District of Columbia and Maryland, as well as before administrative agencies

Diane Seltzer Torre earned her J.D. from American University s Washington College of Law in 1991, where she was a member of Law Review. She clerked for the judges of the Circuit Court for Washington County, Maryland after graduating from law school. She received her B.A. in Sociology, cum laude.

The Seltzer Law Firm concentrates on employment law and civil rights litigation. The Firm s philosophy is to provide practical solutions to complex, as well as common, workplace issues. We appear before all federal and state trial and appellate courts in the District of Columbia and Maryland, as well as before administrative agencies


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Real-time Responsiveness

We are in the business of real time responsiveness. We take care of you through unwavering execution to uncover what your family law issue is really about; and it’s not just about divorce. We have a genuine caring and commitment to a successful outcome as we move your matter forward with steadfast facilitation.

When you call our firm, someone is here to listen. In addition, since we use an integrated system case approach. everyone is up to date on your case activity and can answer your questions. No more waiting.

Integrated Systems Approach

Differing from other family law firm team approaches, we utilize an integrated systems approach . What that means is even though you may be working primarily with a particular award-winning attorney or staff member, all our firm members are actively engaged in managing your matter.

We lead you through the process versus waiting for direction from you, which is a typical approach. The efficiency of this rare integrated model allows us to manage your case responsibly and provide you with real-time responsiveness.

Personalized Care & Service

No family law case is the same. That’s why our expert guidance is focused on your individual needs, interests and concerns first, then we adapt our family law services to you. You can expect us to do things because they are the right things to do. not the next things to do.

As you know or may be experiencing, divorce can affect one’s well-being impacting mental, physical and emotional health, so we infuse personal care and services designed for skill enhancing and modeling to reduce risk and long-term impact.

About Lowenstein Brown

Super Lawyers San Diego, Lowenstein Brown, APLC is a top rated, award winning, boutique firm specializing in family law. Founded by San Diego divorce attorney Michele Sacks Lowenstein* 35 years ago, Michele and attorney Elizabeth Brown* focus their practice on divorce settlement agreements and options (evaluating mediation, collaboration and litigation). They also negotiate prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Call 619-298-6246 to schedule a consultation.

* Certified Specialist – Family Law, The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization


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Welcome to the website of The Estate Planning Council of Birmingham!

The Estate Planning Council of Birmingham is a multi-disciplinary professional association organized to provide educational programs and networking opportunities for estate planning professionals in the community. Established in 1960, the Council s membership is currently comprised of more than 200 attorneys, accountants, bank trust officers, life insurance professionals, and financial planners. Others who work in the field of estate planning participate as associate members.

If you are seeking guidance regarding your estate planning, please use our membership list to assemble a team of professionals who are dedicated to their estate planning practice.

Meetings: 1st Thursday of each month

September through May

The Harbert Center

2019 4th Avenue North

Guests are welcome!

Continuing Education Credit: Up to 12 hours a year if all meetings are attended.

Membership application on left side of this page (Document Library).

Initiation Fee: $100.00

Annual Dues: $275.00

UPCOMING EVENTS

September 7, 2017

TOPIC: The Generous Business: How Families Use their Business as an Engine of Generosity

Michael King – National Christian Foundation

TOPIC: Advising Clients through the Toughest Times of Life

Amy Florian – Corgenius


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Taking the Extra Step to Go the Extra Mile…

Wheaton, DuPage County, Illinois Litigation Attorneys

Criminal Defense, Family Law, and Business Litigation Attorneys

At the law firm of Laraia and Laraia, P.C. our attorneys continually strive to provide our clients with comprehensive legal guidance in the areas of criminal law. family law. business litigation. personal injury. and all contentious legal matters requiring civil and criminal litigation .

Established in 1966 by attorney Joseph M. Laraia , our Wheaton law firm has been representing clients throughout northern Illinois in DuPage County, Kane County, Will County, and the Chicago metropolitan area for decades. Our attorneys diligently work to resolve all criminal and family law issues as effectively as possible, and if it’s a case that can be done quickly and done well, we will get it resolved in a timely manner, so that you can move forward with your life intact.

Experienced Criminal Defense

Our attorneys have represented individuals in the full gamut of criminal cases from highly publicized murder and other serious felonies to routine traffic matters. Our attorneys have wide experience in most serious felonies, reckless homicide, DUI, misdemeanors, juvenile and other criminal and traffic offenses, as well as Secretary of State License reinstatement proceedings.

Many times, clients come to us to seek legal counsel on how they can right their past wrongs, in order to clear any public records of their criminal offenses. Our knowledgeable attorneys have a long history of not only defending clients in all criminal law matters, but in petitioning the courts to have their criminal records either sealed or completely erased, through the process of expungement .

Dedication to Families in Divorce and Family Law Matters

Many families struggling with divorce and other family law matters, involving disputes over child custody and visitation rights, adoption and guardianship. or domestic violence ,-Trust our law firm to handle the complex and sensitive issues that often arise in the process of divorce.

We understand our clients have a variety of legal concerns that call for our undivided attention to their personal struggles, and we will fight to protect their rights, every step of the way.

*FAMILY LAW ALERT: As of July 1st, 2017, the laws pertaining to child support have changed significantly. If you have a child support obligation and would like to discuss how these changes might impact you, please contact us for a consultation.

Representation for Business Litigation

Recognized and well-respected by our business clients, our law firm has won many high profile litigation cases for a variety of businesses. Some of our clients that have been represented by our firm include the City of Chicago, Ameritech, Illinois Bell Telephone Company and Public Officials.

We pride ourselves on being able to handle complicated business matters and strive for continued excellence when representing our clients, who rely upon our professional quality to proficiently resolve their legal problems.

Contact Our Law Firm

To learn more about how we can better serve you, contact Laraia and Laraia, P.C. in Wheaton, Illinois by calling

(630) 690-6800 for a free initial consultation, or send us an email for a prompt response.