by Caryn Spector
Have you ever been:
*Refused your security deposit on grounds that your apartment was filthy after you spent hours scrubbing it?
*Pinched by your boss?
*Told that labor on your car cost $100 when the labor only took a half-hour?
These and many more are grievances which can and should be brought to a small claims court.
The small claims court has been referred to by many as a "peoples' court"--the filing fee is only $2 and you do not need a lawyer. We have not personally filed, and we don't know how the system works in practice. However, we are planning to attend the open hearings at City Court and will have information from those observations available soon.
Since many of us were not familiar with small claims procedures, we undertook a small scale investigation of Tompkins County's facilities. We went to Legal Aid, the Cornell law library, and the City Court on Clinton St. We found little or no written information on who can file, how it is done, and how useful it is. This lack of information makes more complicated what should be a simple procedure. Lack of knowledge has been used against every oppressed group as a way of keeping them/us powerless. WWU wants to change this situation. We are planning a small claims workshop, open to all women, which will clarify any questions about using this means of obtaining our rights. Those of you with immediate questions can call Caryn Spector on Monday afternoons at 256-3445.
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