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Small Claims court - AKA's and two plaintiffs

NYC Housing Court Practice/Procedures

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Small Claims court - AKA's and two plaintiffs

Postby perhapsperhaps » Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:54 am

Hello,

If anybody has experience and can be of help here, it would be greatly appreciated. My roommate and I are about to take my ex-landlord to small claims court to get our security deposit back. We have taken advantage of the great free legal counseling in the city and are ready to go - but we have a couple of important questions that we are unable to find a straight answer to -

1) Can we sue our landlord as two plaintiffs under the same civil case/suit? We've begun the process of filing the suit with both NCourt and TurboCourt, and in both cases we've only been able to list one plaintiff. It would be more money and time to file separately, and it seems from what I've read that roommates should file a joint claim in NY State - but how?

2) My ex-landlord has three different names he's done shady business by in NYC - the name on our lease and the name the property deed is under (what we believe to be his legal name) being two of them. When filing the claim, how should the AKA be done? Should each name be listed as a separate defendant? If it is done this way, is there a way to make it clear that we are suing one person with three different aliases rather than 3 separate people?

Thank you for any help - we've had a heck of a time finding out the correct way to do this, and don't want to make any missteps that could delay the return of our deposit.
perhapsperhaps
 
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Postby TenantNet » Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:02 am

Why bother with Ncourt or TurboCourt? Just go down to the courthouse and file with Small Claims Court?

You should be able to file as two plaintiffs. If the LL has a number of names, list all three as defendants (or respondents). You might even find a court clerk who can offer assistance.
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Postby perhapsperhaps » Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:15 am

Wow, thanks so much for your quick response.

The reason I would prefer to bother with the online filing is that I only get 5 paid days off per year, and would prefer not to spend one of them going out to Jamaica when it looks like a very fast online process.

But thank you for the encouraging information that it is at least possible to file with two plaintiffs. If anyone else can corroborate this, that would be appreciated - it's kind of a mixed message because the NYC guide to small claims court says to file as an individual but the NYS guide says that tenants can file together, which is not mentioned in the NYC guide.
perhapsperhaps
 
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Postby TenantNet » Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:33 am

In Civil or Supreme Ct. having co-plaintiffs or respondents is normal. Small Claims Ct. is meant to simplify and expedite cases, so they might have some restrictions in addition to the limitations on the amount being sought. If you want to be sure, check with them.

The online services likely set up their forms in the most simple way, but that doesn't mean you can't do it.
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