December 19, 2014
How to Countersue

If you believe the party suing you owes you money you can countersue by filing a "Claim of Defendant". Both cases will be heard at the same time.

Your claim cannot be for more than $10,000 if you are a natural person (not a business or public entity). If you are a business or other entity (like a government entity) you cannot ask for more than $5,000. And you cannot have a lawyer represent you in court. But you can talk to a lawyer before or after your court trial.

If you have a claim for more than this amount, you may sue in the Civil Division of the Superior Court or you may sue in the Small Claims Court and give up your right to the amount over $10,000 if you are a natural person (If you are a business or other entity (like a government entity) you cannot ask for more than $5,000.). You cannot, however, file more than two cases in Small Claims Court for more than $2,500 each during a calendar year. Please refer to the Fee Schedule for the filling fees.

You must notify the other party that you are suing by having a copy of the Claim of Defendant served on them at least 5 days before the trial date. However, if you were served with the Plaintiff's claim ten (10) days or less before the trial date, you can serve the defendant's claim at least one day before the trial date. You cannot serve the Claim of Defendant yourself.

If your counter claim exceeds the jurisdictional limit of the Small Claims Court and you want your case to be heard in the Civil Division of the Superior Court, you must first file a Summons and Complaint in that Division. You will need to bring to the Small Claims Clerk a copy of the Civil Complaint, a copy of the Proof of Service, a Declaration, an order for the Commissioner to sign.

Upon receipt of the above described documents, usually the Small Claims clerk will transfer its file to the Civil Division of the Superior Court. In this manner, both the plaintiff's and defendant's claims may be heard together.

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