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What are Connecticut Small Claims Cases and Class Action Lawsuits?

Small claims and class action lawsuits are civil cases brought by one or more petitioners against other individuals or organizations. In small claims cases, a plaintiff brings a claim against an individual or corporate entity. In class action lawsuits, a group of persons with similar legal claims comes together to form a class and pursue legal action against a company or corporate entity. Civil rules of procedure apply to small claims cases and class action lawsuits in Connecticut. The Superior Court hears small claims cases in the state, and the court holds sessions to address different claims cases. Any person aged 18 or older or an emancipated person may file small claims or join a class action lawsuit.

What is a Class Action Lawsuit in Connecticut?

A class action is a civil lawsuit that involves a class of plaintiffs filing a legal complaint against a defendant. A class is made up of many individuals who share similar legal claims against the same defendant. Class action lawsuits typically involve disputes about personal injury, faulty products, fraud, or other types of loss. Although the class is made up of many individuals, one or more members of the class may represent the class, initiating the lawsuit on behalf of the other members. A class action lawsuit is practical when it is impossible for all the members of the class to bring single-party suits against the defendant. Additionally, class action lawsuits are less expensive than single-party lawsuits.

How do I File a Claim in a Connecticut Small Claims Court?

To initiate a small claims case, a plaintiff may begin by filing a Small Claims Writ and Notice of Suit form. If there is more than one defendant and the names do not fit the form, the petitioner must file a Continuation of Parties form. The forms are also available at the courthouse in each town. A petitioner may file a claim in the county where the plaintiff or the defendant lives or where the claim arose. The petitioner must sign the forms in the presence of a notary public or a Court Clerk. After filing the form with the Court Clerk, the plaintiff must ensure that the defendant receives a copy of the notice. The plaintiff may serve the defendant notice by mail (priority, certified, or nationally recognized courier) or by a service officer. The Court Clerk will indicate the date by which the defendant must respond.

In Connecticut small claims courts, the defendant may only sue for money damages worth up to $5000, excluding costs and interests. The court charges an entry fee of $95 to file small claims in Connecticut. The plaintiff may pay with a credit card, cash, check, or money order addressed to ‘Clerk of the Superior Court.’ The court adds the entry fee and service costs to the judgment if the plaintiff wins the case.

Do I Need a Small Claims Lawyer?

Connecticut small claims courts are designed in such a way that case parties can be self-represented. However, the state allows small claims lawyers to represent case parties. If the plaintiff is a business, full-time employees may represent the business in a small claims case. Small claims lawyers also offer legal advice to self-represented litigants.

How do Class Action Lawsuits Work in Connecticut?

One or more persons may represent the class of plaintiffs in a Connecticut class action lawsuit. Together with the class attorney, the representatives may initiate the process by filing a Civil Action Summons. The representatives must then petition the court to certify the class. The criteria for class certification in Connecticut are:

  • The class must consist of so many people that single-party cases are not practical.
  • The class must share a similar claim.
  • The class representatives must fairly and adequately represent the class interests.
  • The representatives’ claims must match those of the class.

If the court determines that the class meets all the requirements, the court will certify the class and appoint a lead representative to present the class’s case. However, it is worthy of note that the court may have other certification requirements, such as the fact that a class action must be the superior available method for resolving the plaintiff’s claims. Questions of the law that affect the whole class must supersede those of individuals.

Upon certification, the lead representative must ensure that all absent class members are notified by acceptable means. Class members may opt out of the class action at any time or oppose the court’s judgment.

Is a Class Action Better Than a Single Party Suit?

In cases where the recovery amount is not large, class action lawsuits may be the better option as all the class members will share the recovery amount. There is a higher chance of recovering small amounts with class action lawsuits. Additionally, class action lawsuits can provide similar outcomes for different people, whereas single-party suits may yield different petitioners different results. However, it is worth considering that class action lawsuits limit the class members’ ability to file single-party suits against the defendant in the future. Additionally, if a person has suffered greater damages than others in the group, a single-party suit may be a better recourse in order for such a person to get adequate compensation.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the document or person involved

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party websites may vary.

What Cases are Heard by Small Claims Courts in Connecticut?

The Connecticut Small Claims Court hears cases of:

  • Landlord/tenant disputes, including back rent
  • Damaged property
  • Security deposit recovery
  • Contract breach, including oral and verbal contracts
  • Hospital bills
  • Unpaid claims
  • Other claims that involve no more than $5000
  • Criminal Records
  • Arrests Records
  • Warrants
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Federal Dockets
  • Probate Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Divorce Records
  • Death Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • And More!