Lawsuits

Things to Think About Before You Represent Yourself in Court

Try to Get a Lawyer

The court system can be confusing and it is a good idea to get a lawyer if you can. The law, the proofs necessary to present your case, and the procedural rules governing cases in the Law Division, Civil Part are complex. Since valuable claims or potentially heavy judgments may be at stake, most litigants appearing in the Law Division, Civil Part have a lawyer. If you are being sued, please contact your insurance company to see if they might provide a lawyer for you. Most likely your opponent will be represented by a lawyer. It is recommended that you make every effort to obtain the assistance of a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may contact the legal services program in your county to see if you qualify for free legal services. The telephone number can be found online or in your local yellow pages under “Legal Aid” or “Legal Services.”

HOW TO FILE A SMALL CLAIMS LAWSUIT IN NEW JERSEY

Small Claims Court

Small claims are lawsuits for $3,000 or less. Renters can file for a return of a security deposit of $5,000 or less in small claims court.

Examples of small claims:

  • A person or company failed to comply with a written or oral contract.
  • Your car was damaged in an accident.
  • You paid money as a down payment and want it returned .
  • Your property was damaged or lost.
  • You bought a product that doesn’t work.
  • Work you paid for was faulty or not completed.
  • You want to be paid for work you did.
  • Someone wrote you a bad check.
  • You gave a landlord a security deposit that was not returned. NOTE: The limit for security deposit returns is $5,000 in small claims court.

How To Collect On A Money Judgement

 

In certain kinds of cases, you may be able to get the Debtor’s driver’s license or professional or business license suspended until the judgment is paid.

Here are some examples:

If your claim had to do with the Debtor’s car or how he or she drove a car, the Department of Motor Vehicles may suspend the Debtor’s driver’s license and car registration until your judgment is paid. The judgment must be for $1000 or more, and it must be unpaid for more than 15 days.

If your claim was about the Debtor’s licensed or certified business, notify the state or local licensing agency if the Debtor has not paid you. The agency may decide to revoke, suspend, or refuse to grant or renew a business license. It must be at least 35 days since the Debtor received notice of the judgment.

In a Small Claims Court case, if a Debtor has three or more unpaid recorded judgments including yours, but he or she has the ability to pay them, you may be able to sue the Debtor for three times more than your original judgment. This is called treble damages. Ask the Small Claims Court Clerk if the Debtor is listed in the Small Claims Court’s index of unsatisfied judgments.

Lawsuits and How they Work

By Lee Ann Obringer

You step in a puddle of spilled cooking oil in a grocery store and break three bones in your hand. You’re a concert pianist. How can you recover your lost income?

Your landlord claims you broke several things in your apartment that you didn’t pay for. You know they were broken when you moved in. The forms you signed when you moved in don’t specifically mention those items. How do you keep from having to replace something you aren’t responsible for? Continue reading

How Divorce Works

By Lee Ann Obringer

Chances are, we all know someone who is divorced — probably several someones. In 2000, there were over 957,200 finalized divorces in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau says that 50 percent of all marriages entered into today will end in divorce. That’s a lot of broken homes, heartaches and paperwork, not to mention money spent on attorney fees and court costs.

But, some say those percentages of future doomed marriages have to be interpreted based on other factors. Barbara Whitehead and David Popenoe’s “The State of Our Unions” (2004), which was prepared at Rutgers University for the National Marriage Project, says that there are several important social factors that affect that 50 percent estimate. For example, your risk of divorce decreases by: Continue reading

10 Most Important U.S. Supreme Court Cases for Journalists

By Marie Willsey

To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.” Frederick Douglass, 1860.

Douglass’ words echo the beliefs of the founding fathers, who considered freedom of the press so important that they established its rights in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The press played an important role in the events leading up to and during the American Revolution, when newspapers helped spread information about the struggle for independence from Great Britain across the colonies. The founders fought to preserve the very freedoms that helped the young nation to gain support for its ideals. Continue reading