(a) Small claims shall be commenced upon the payment by the claimant of a filing fee of fifteen dollars for claims in the amount of one thousand dollars or less and twenty dollars for claims in the amount of more than one thousand dollars, without the service of a summons and, except by special order of the court, without the service of any pleading other than a statement of his cause of action by the claimant or someone in his behalf to the clerk, who shall reduce the same to a concise, written form and record it in a docket kept especially for such purpose. Such procedure shall provide for the sending of notice of such claim by ordinary first class mail and certified mail with return receipt requested to the party complained against at his residence, if he resides within the city of New York, and his residence is known to the claimant, or at his office or place of regular employment within the city of New York if he does not reside therein or his residence within the city of New York is not known to the claimant. If, after the expiration of twenty-one days, such ordinary first class mailing has not been returned as undeliverable, the party complained against shall be presumed to have received notice of such claim. Such notice shall include a clear description of the procedure for filing a counterclaim, pursuant to subdivision (c) of this section.
Such procedure shall further provide for an early hearing upon and determination of such claim. No filing fee, however, shall be demanded or received on small claims of employees who shall comply with § 1912(a) of this act which is hereby made applicable, except that necessary mailing costs shall be paid.
(b) The clerk shall furnish every claimant, upon commencement of the action, with information written in clear and coherent language which shall be prescribed and furnished by the office of court administration, concerning the small claims court. Such information shall include, but not be limited to, an explanation of the following terms and procedures; adjournments, counterclaims, jury trial requests, subpoenas, arbitration, collection methods and fees, the responsibility of the judgment creditor to collect data on the judgment debtor's assets, the ability of the court prior to entering judgment to order examination of or disclosure by, the defendant and restrain him, the utilization of section eighteen hundred twelve of this article concerning treble damage awards and information subpoenas including, but not limited to, specific questions to be used on information subpoenas, and the claimant's right to notify the appropriate state or local licensing or certifying authority of an unsatisfied judgment if it arises out of the carrying on, conducting or transaction of a licensed or certified business or if such business appears to be engaged in fraudulent or illegal acts or otherwise demonstrates fraud or illegality in the carrying on, conducting or transaction of its business and a list of at least the most prominent state or local licensing or certifying authorities and a description of the business categories such licensing or certifying authorities oversee. The information shall be available in English. Large signs in English shall be posted in conspicuous locations in each small claims court clerk's office, advising the public of its availability.
(c) A defendant who wishes to file a counterclaim shall do so by filing with the clerk a statement containing such counterclaim within five days of receiving the notice of claim. At the time of such filing the defendant shall pay to the clerk a filing fee of five dollars plus the cost of mailings which are required pursuant to this subdivision. The clerk shall forthwith send notice of the counterclaim by ordinary first class mail to the claimant. If the defendant fails to file the counterclaim in accordance with the provisions of this subdivision, the defendant retains the right to file the counterclaim, however the claimant may, but shall not be required to, request and obtain adjournment of the hearing to a later date. The claimant may reply to the counterclaim but shall not be required to do so.
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