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Small court for security deposit

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Small court for security deposit

Postby kiduek11 » Wed May 27, 2015 4:27 am

I am going to the small claims court to argue for my security deposit.

I haven't heard at all from the management after I filed the claims. Is there any chance that they might not show up? Are managements usually represented by attorneys? I am going by myself to present so that worries me a lot.

Also, I read up on what happens during the small claims court hearing. There are times where I can ask questions to the defendant and defendant can ask me questions. Should I prepare some questions?

Lastly, I know you can choose between judge and arbitrator. I am guessing most people just go with the arbitrator, right?
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Re: Small court for security deposit

Postby TenantNet » Wed May 27, 2015 8:43 am

It's possible they might not show up. If so, ask the court for a default judgment. Also, if the LL did not put in any Answer to your complaint, ask the court (if they show up) to rule that they waived any opportunity to put in an answer. However ... I really don't know enough the rules of small claims court. They might allow an answer in person (by the LL) at the appearance themselves.

If the LL is a corporation, they must (by law) have a lawyer. If they are individuals, they can represent themselves. See http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/CVP/3/321

The process can be daunting. Just tell your story. Don't get caught up in all the legalisms.

Yes, prepare some questions in advance. If the case goes to trial, you should have the opportunity to put on your own witnesses and evidence, and the same for the LL.

The last question is hard to answer. It can be a gut answer based on your feeling. One thing to considere is that if you choose a judge, you might have to sit their all night and even come back. So it can be used as a tactice if the LL or his atty doesn't want to spend a lot of time dealing with it.
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Re: Small court for security deposit

Postby BubbaJoe123 » Wed May 27, 2015 6:24 pm

TenantNet, in small claims, a corporation doesn't have to send a lawyer, they can send an employee instead. It's the exception (1809 and 1809-A) in the code you cited.

"A corporation may appear as a party in any action brought pursuant to this article by an attorney as well as by any authorized officer, director or employee of the corporation provided that the appearance by a non-lawyer on behalf of a corporation shall be deemed to constitute the requisite authority to bind the corporation in a settlement or trial."
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Re: Small court for security deposit

Postby TenantNet » Wed May 27, 2015 6:46 pm

So it seems. Thanks for the clarification.

But one caveat. Most "employees" who are not officers do not have settlement authority and would need to consult with their superiors before taking any action. That code 1809 discusses that, and a judge or arbiter needs to inquire if such authority rests with the employee.
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