Connecticut Superior Court Small Claims Actions: An Overview

Learn about filing a small claims case in Connecticut Superior Court.

By , Attorney

What's the small claims court dollar limit in Connecticut Small Claims Court?

You can ask for up to $5,000 in a small claims action filed in the small claims division of Connecticut Superior Court—the courts that handle small claims matters in Connecticut.

Can a landlord bring an eviction lawsuit in the small claims division of Connecticut Superior Court?

No. Evictions aren't heard as small claims in Connecticut Superior Court. However, the small claims division is an excellent forum for other types of cases typically brought in small claims courts, such as property damage matters and breach of contract disputes.

Where should I file my small claims case in Connecticut?

Connecticut has many courthouses. You must choose the proper court location or "venue," otherwise, the defendant—the person or company you sue—will be able to ask the court to transfer or dismiss your action. In Connecticut, you'll file as follows:

  • If the plaintiff is a corporation or company, in the county or geographical area where the defendant resides or does business or where transaction or injury took place.
  • If the plaintiff is an individual, where the plaintiff resides, where the defendant resides, or where the transaction or injury took place.

Go to the Connecticut Secretary of State business entity search webpage for company information. Also, be aware that you might have other options, depending on your case. Most courts post venue rules on the court website.

What's the deadline to file a case in small claims court in Connecticut?

You don't have an unlimited amount of time to file a claim. You'll have to bring it within the statute of limitations period for your particular case. For example, the Connecticut statute of limitations is three years for oral contracts, six years for written contracts, and two years for personal injury and personal property damage cases. If you don't file within the proper period, you lose your right to sue.

Also, the statute of limitations can stop and restart depending on various circumstances, and figuring out when it expires can be challenging. For instance, if a minor is injured, the personal injury statute won't begin running until the child reaches 18 years of age. Learn more about calculating the statute of limitations.

Can an attorney represent a small claims claimant in Connecticut Superior Court?

Yes. In Connecticut, attorneys can represent small claimants. Counsel must represent corporations appearing in small claims court.

Does the defendant have to answer the small claims complaint?

Yes. The defendant must file an answer or a motion to transfer the case to another court on or before the "answer date" that appears on the answer form to avoid an automatic loss and default judgment. Any counterclaim against the plaintiff must be filed by that date, as well.

Learn what happens if you get sued in small claims court.

Will I have a judge or jury trial in small claims court in Connecticut?

A judge will hear your case. Connecticut doesn't allow jury trials in small claims cases. A defendant who would like a jury trial can request a transfer to another court.

Find out what to expect at the small claims trial.

Can I appeal a Connecticut small claims case?

No. You can't appeal the decision in a Connecticut small claims case. If you need to address some other error, you can file a motion with the court.

Will the court collect my judgment for me?

No. You'll be responsible for all collection efforts. It's a good idea to determine whether you can collect before deciding whether to sue.

Where can I learn more about small claims cases in Connecticut Superior Court?

Most courts include filing instructions on the court website or provide self-help services. For additional resources, try the Connecticut Judicial Branch's small claims webpage.

You can also view Connecticut's small claims law online on the Connecticut Law Library Services. (Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. §§ 47a-34 to 47a-42; 51-15; 51-345 to 51-347; 52-57; 52-259; and Connecticut Superior Court Procedure in Civil Matters, Rules 24-1 to 24-33.)

For detailed help with case filing, court strategy, and collecting a money judgment, see Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court by Attorney Cara O'Neill (Nolo).

Look out for Legal Changes. This overview doesn't provide all of the information needed to file a small claims case. Also, keep in mind that statutes can change, and checking them is always a good idea. How the courts interpret and apply the law can also change. These are just some of the reasons to consult an attorney if you have any questions about litigating your case or if you aren't comfortable independently verifying the law.