About Small Claim Court in New York
Thread poster: jyuan_us

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:26
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
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Sep 16, 2015

If I hire a lawyer to appear in a small claim court against an agency who owes me money, and I have won the case, will the judge order that my lawyer's charge to be paid by the defendant?

The scenario is that the lawyer would take the majority of the money secured even if I have won the case. But if I don't use a lawyer I might not win the case because it might be hard for the judge to understand my reasoning and evidence.

Any idea or experience?


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:26
German to English
No attorneys in small claims court Sep 16, 2015

The whole idea of small claims court is that neither the plaintiff nor the defendant are represented by an attorney, and that the amount of claimed damages is limited (depends on the state). In Michigan, an attorney will charge $1000/hour for a court appearance. Doubtless an attorney in New York would charge more. Depending on the state, you may assign your claim to a personal representative who can make the court appearance on your behalf.

This is not legal advice.


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Tim Friese  Identity Verified
United States
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Not legal advice Sep 16, 2015

I agree with Kevin - most small claims courts are designed with laxer rules of procedure and evidence to allow pro se representation, i.e. where you represent yourself. In Cook County where I live, it is actually not allowed for a plaintiff to be represented by an attorney in a small claims suit.

I won a small claims suit this year for non payment, and my experience was quite easy. There is an office in the Cook County court here that helps you with the paperwork, and in the extremely brief 5-minute trial, both sides presented our evidence and then the judge asked a few questions and ruled in my favor.

Good luck!


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 01:26
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English to Thai
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Collecting agency? Sep 16, 2015

Kevin Fulton wrote:

The whole idea of small claims court is that neither the plaintiff nor the defendant are represented by an attorney, and that the amount of claimed damages is limited (depends on the state). In Michigan, an attorney will charge $1000/hour for a court appearance. Doubtless an attorney in New York would charge more. Depending on the state, you may assign your claim to a personal representative who can make the court appearance on your behalf.

This is not legal advice.


I have a similar case for New York. Is it efficient to hire a collecting agency? I contacted some agencies but they never replied to my inquiries through email and web-based claim dispositions.

Soonthon L.


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JL01  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:26
English to French
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Plaintiff must appear in court Sep 16, 2015

Kevin is absolutely correct. However, I believe that the plaintiff MUST ATTEND the hearing, otherwise the case is dismissed.

I think that, in NY, the defendant may be represented by an attorney.

Kevin Fulton wrote:

The whole idea of small claims court is that neither the plaintiff nor the defendant are represented by an attorney, and that the amount of claimed damages is limited (depends on the state). In Michigan, an attorney will charge $1000/hour for a court appearance. Doubtless an attorney in New York would charge more. Depending on the state, you may assign your claim to a personal representative who can make the court appearance on your behalf.

This is not legal advice.


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Álvaro Espantaleón  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:26
Member (2015)
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... Sep 16, 2015

Could you attend the hearing via teleconference or videoconference?

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JL01  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:26
English to French
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In what world are you living?? Sep 16, 2015

Alvaro Espantaleon wrote:

Could you attend the hearing via teleconference or videoconference?


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Álvaro Espantaleón  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:26
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Should be possible Sep 16, 2015

as it is in Spain.

Please, provide references.


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JL01  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:26
English to French
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Spain is Spain... Sep 16, 2015

... and the NY Small Claims Court system is part of the NY State justice system. One is to oranges what the other is to apples.

References? https://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/smallclaims/

Knock yourself out reading them.


Alvaro Espantaleon wrote:

as it is in Spain.

Please, provide references.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:26
Russian to English
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No. Sep 17, 2015

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.) wrote:

Kevin Fulton wrote:

The whole idea of small claims court is that neither the plaintiff nor the defendant are represented by an attorney, and that the amount of claimed damages is limited (depends on the state). In Michigan, an attorney will charge $1000/hour for a court appearance. Doubtless an attorney in New York would charge more. Depending on the state, you may assign your claim to a personal representative who can make the court appearance on your behalf.

This is not legal advice.


I have a similar case for New York. Is it efficient to hire a collecting agency? I contacted some agencies but they never replied to my inquiries through email and web-based claim dispositions.

Soonthon L.

You need a court judgement for the agency to be able to start collecting.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:26
Russian to English
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Yes exactly. Sep 17, 2015

JL01 wrote:

Kevin is absolutely correct. However, I believe that the plaintiff MUST ATTEND the hearing, otherwise the case is dismissed.

I think that, in NY, the defendant may be represented by an attorney.

Kevin Fulton wrote:

The whole idea of small claims court is that neither the plaintiff nor the defendant are represented by an attorney, and that the amount of claimed damages is limited (depends on the state). In Michigan, an attorney will charge $1000/hour for a court appearance. Doubtless an attorney in New York would charge more. Depending on the state, you may assign your claim to a personal representative who can make the court appearance on your behalf.

This is not legal advice.

but you may also present the case yourself. If the defendant does not show up, you win the case.

[Edited at 2015-09-17 11:10 GMT]


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:26
German to English
Not true Sep 17, 2015

LilianNekipelov wrote:

You need a court judgement for the agency to be able to start collecting.


I once successfully hired a collection agency to get payment from a deadbeat customer without going through the court.
Hospitals, utilities and financial institutions use debt collectors all the time without going through the legal process.


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:26
Member (2008)
French to English
Student lawyer? Sep 17, 2015

I once won a small claims case for which I had had a meeting ahead of time with a student lawyer who helped me present the case. There was a twist to my situation which I hadn't thought of and the student helped me to know how to organize the evidence and present the arguments. Bear in mind that in a small claims court you only have a few minutes to present your case. I spent a lot longer with the student than I did in court. The defendant brought up precisely the argument the student lawyer said they would, so I was fortunately well prepared. There was no charge for the student's advice, which was arranged by her university. In Quebec the plaintiff must personally, physically attend and no counsel is allowed.

[Edited at 2015-09-17 12:05 GMT]


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liviu roth
United States
Local time: 13:26
Romanian to English
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that is wrong! Sep 18, 2015

Kevin Fulton wrote:

The whole idea of small claims court is that neither the plaintiff nor the defendant are represented by an attorney, and that the amount of claimed damages is limited (depends on the state). In Michigan, an attorney will charge $1000/hour for a court appearance. Doubtless an attorney in New York would charge more. Depending on the state, you may assign your claim to a personal representative who can make the court appearance on your behalf.

This is not legal advice.


Any party may or may not have an attorney. ( in PA)

Other states may have different rules.


[Edited at 2015-09-18 00:41 GMT]


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