如果你無法通過自助或當地消費者團體的調解來解決你的申訴,也許你願意求助於小額索償法院。作為眾所周知的「人民法院」,這種非正式且廉價的法庭可以幫助你解決低於2,000美元的爭執,而不必求助於律師。

機動車輛造成的財產損害作為特例,可超出2,000美元的上限。如果訴訟屬於法律允許的雙倍損害賠償或三倍損害賠償,則雙倍損害賠償上限可增至4,000美元,三倍損害賠償上限可增至6,000美元。在某些房東/房客的判例和根據麻塞諸塞州消費者保護法 第93A章 而提出的訴訟,法律也規定除雙倍或三倍損害賠償外,另加訴訟費用和律師費。

如果你的索賠數額僅略微超過2,000美元,為了避免在更高的法院進行曠日持久、花費可觀的法庭混戰,你仍可選擇在小額索償法院提出2,000美元的索償訴訟。如果你的索賠數額遠遠超過2,000美元,你可以付費雇傭律師,在其他法院起訴。

注:如果你選擇向小額索償法院起訴,你將不能到其他法院進行同樣的索償。

小額索償法院的作用

小額索償法院的氣氛不那麼正式,法庭的規則也很簡單。因為不要求類似其他法院的更為正式的程式,你在小額索償法院起訴或應訴時,不用請律師代表出庭。相反,你可以提供自己的證據,說外行話。

如果選擇向小額索償法院起訴,就說明你放棄了配備陪審團審理的權利。此外,如果法務助理做出不利於你的裁決,則只有在非常特殊的情況下,你才有權向更高的法院上訴。不過,被告永遠有權上訴。

如果對方有律師,不一定對你不利,因為你代表你自己出庭。代表當事人出庭的律師,也許會在某種意義上受到限制,從而與簡單和非正式的辯論判決相一致。為所有當事人保證一個公平的審理,是法務助理的職責。

選擇適當的法院

在每一個麻塞諸塞州聯邦地方法院,波士頓市立法院和波士頓住宅法院均有小額索償法庭。每一個聯邦地方法院均由其所在的城市或城鎮非正式地命名。(參見此出版物結尾部分的小額索償法院名錄。)

原告(提起訴訟之人)可以選擇向原告或被告居住、營業或工作所在地的地方法院提起訴訟。房東/房客糾紛的原告,可在地產所在地的地方法院提出訴訟。

提出你的索賠

提起訴訟時,從所在地的小額索償法務助理處領取名為「索賠聲明及通知」的表格。完整、準確地填寫該表。

你必須提供被訴方準確的依法登記姓名和地址。例如,S & J建築股份有限公司。你可以起訴任何個人、企業、合夥人或法人。非有限責任公司的企業依法登記的名稱,可通過市政廳或鎮公所的事務員確定並獲取其經營許可證資訊。有限責任公司依法登記的名稱可通過如下方式獲得,通信地址:02108,麻塞諸塞州波士頓市第一阿斯勃登大廈17層州務卿行署企業處,致電617-727-2850或617-727-9640,或上網查詢 www.sec.state.ma.us

你只可在小額索償法院要求金錢賠償。你的索賠金額應包括實際造成的損失,以及其他任何因此損失導致的附加費用,如計程車費用、郵費、影印費和訴訟費用等。

在提起訴訟時,你必須支付一筆小額的訴訟費用。如果你贏得訴訟,這筆費用和其他訴訟費將由被告支付。

你的索賠請求可親自遞交或郵寄。但是,如果文件是通過郵件寄至辦事員,則直至該文件實際被接收時,訴訟才正式開始。

法務助理將提供你的完整的「索賠聲明通知」表格,其上有開庭的日期及時間。你還會收到一個你的案子的訴訟案號或參考號。在聯繫法務助理時,請使用該號碼對案件進行標識。

法務助理會即時將「索賠聲明通知」表格的一份影本,以要求回執的保證郵件和單獨的第一類郵件,寄至由你提供的一個或多個位址的被告處。只要第一類郵件通知並未因無法送達而被退回法院,即使保證郵件因無人認領而被退回或被被告拒收,以這種方式遞交聲明仍是充分的。法院可以其認為必要的方式,在個案中採用任何其他的服務手段。

出庭準備

在聽證會前一個星期,給法務助理打電話,確認被告已經收到「索賠聲明通知」。法務助理將通知你此案是否延期,以及被告是否提交了應訴狀。索取並使用被告的應訴狀,以便更加有效地準備庭審。

為喚起記憶,準備一份以時間順序排列的事件和相關事實匯總表以利陳述。將所有證據收集起來,如合同、信件、註銷的支票、收據、租約、評估報告、以及損失的實際物品或照片,這會有助於你說明你的案子。如果你想證明被告違反了某一特定的法律、法規或條例,應攜帶適用的司法部長簽署頒發的法規的經核准副本。這些副本可在馬塞諸薩州波士頓市州議會大廈116房間州立書店獲取,電話:617-727-2834

如果你想依據 麻塞諸塞州消費者保護法 第93A章 進行起訴,應將事實通知法務助理,你有權依據該條例獲得雙倍或三倍損害賠償。攜帶一份你的 30日聲明函副本。你也許希望在開庭日前安排好能夠證明你的索賠或聲明的證人。如果證人拒絕出庭,辦事員可協助傳喚他/她。傳票是用來命令證人在開審日出庭的法院通知。

庭審

至少在案件開庭前一小時到達法院。當你的案子開始時,被告和證人必須宣誓。隨後,法務助理將聽取本案雙方證詞,允許雙方各自提供證據和證人,展開陳詞。原告,或稱起訴人,現行申述。申述必須簡明扼要,組織得當,態度得體。其後,被告,或稱應訴人,申述他/她對於此案的觀點。切記直接對法務助理陳詞。不要與被告在法庭爭論,或打斷他/她的申述。

申述完畢後,你和被告可相互提問。法務助理作為調解人,提問並鼓勵討論,以使本案的所有真相逐漸展開。如果法務助理判決某一方提出無意義或誤導的索償或應訴,那麼,法務助理會判予另一方最高100美元的額外費用。

如果被告未到庭或沒有露面,而你出席了審判,則你自動獲勝。但是,你必須向法庭出示你索賠的證據。(如果被告出席了審判,而原告未能出席,案件將被駁回。如果原告和被告雙方均未出席,索賠也必須被駁回。)

被告的選擇

調解:即使訟案已經開始,雙方仍可達成協定在庭外調解。協議必須是書面形式的。將調解書的一份副本提交法務助理,通知法院。調解書的原本,名為「判決協議」,應由你和被告雙方簽名,連同法院記錄歸檔,由法律強制執行。保留一份副本以備記錄。

應訴:被告提交應訴狀的選項。如果被告同意,他/她將依據指示,以書信的形式向法院提交一份書面應訴狀並簽名,以簡單明瞭的語言說明原告不能勝訴的原因。

不出席:如果被告不能出席判決,原告自動勝訴。判決和命令的規定數額款項在20年之內有效。在審判前,法院會要求原告出具某種形式的證據,用以證明索賠是合法的。

反訴:反訴是指被告反過來針對原告的訴訟。反訴的程式有如下選擇。如果你對起訴你的一方有合法的索賠請求,通知法務助理你將反訴對方。例如,如果一家維修廠因維修費用起訴你,你可以安裝錯誤的部件的維修價格為由反訴。在應訴狀或庭審期間,被告可以書面形式提出其對原告的任何索償要求。被告的索償請求不要求書面回復,原告與被告雙方的索償請求均被認為是同一案件。如果原告需要更多的時間準備回應反訴,他/她可向法院要求延期。(參見 延期。)反訴請求必須在聽證會前至少2天遞交法務助理。提交反訴僅收取像征性的費用。

延期:被告收到通知後,庭審將不會改期,除非法院批准雙方協議改期,或有充分理由。任何延期的意向必須以書面形式提交法院,除非法院准許以口頭的形式提交。

法院裁決

在聽取雙方的辯論後,法務助理可當庭判決,或需要更多的時間來研究,後者將在充分考慮下做出判決,你將通過郵件接收最終判決的通知。

如果法務助理裁決被告勝訴,本案將被結案,你將不會收到任何款項。你不會被要求支付被告的訴訟費用。如果裁決支持原告,法院將會發出"索賠聲明通知",明令被告賠償你的損失以及訴訟費。法務助理判給你的數額也許會低於你原先的索賠數額。

被告有權在10日內對審判結果上訴。被告必須支付上訴費用,郵寄100美元現金、保付支票或債券,除非法院免除這一要求。

收取款項

如果被告未能向你支付款項,你必須通知法務助理,其會向你提交通知陳述因由。隨後,你必須安排由縣副警長或市政警官遞送通知給被告。陳述因由通知將標示聽證會的日期和時間。在聽證會上,法院將採取適當行動以恢復付款。

你也可要求法務助理出具執行表格。該表格准許縣副警長或市政警官查封及拍賣被告財產,以獲取所欠款項。

法院判決一年之內,任何一方均可申請免除判決或命令。這意味著由於錯誤或法院認為充分的其他理由,法院可以翻案。如果你對此或其他關於小額索償法院程式有任何問題,請接洽法務助理。

援助資源

詳情請接洽麻塞諸塞州坎布裏奇市哈佛校園菲力浦·布魯克斯樓小額索償諮詢機構,郵編:02138;電話617-497-5690,或上網查詢: http://hcs.harvard.edu/~scas/



法院

Suffolk County:

Boston Municipal Court

Edward W. Brooke Courthouse
24 New Chardon St.
Boston, 02114
(617)788-8411

Boston, all of Suffolk County

Boston Housing Court

Edward W. Brooke Courthouse
24 New Chardon Street
Boston, 02114
(617)788-8515

South Boston, West Roxbury

Boston Municipal Court, Brighton Division

52 Academy Hill Road
Brighton, 02135
(617)782-6521

Allston, Brighton

Boston Municipal Court, Charlestown Division Court House

3 City Square
Charlestown, 02129
(617)242-5400 X241

Charlestown

Chelsea District Court

120 Broadway
Chelsea, 02150
(617)660-9200

Chelsea, Revere

Boston Municipal Court, Dorchester Division

510 Washington Street
Dorchester, 02124
(617)288-9500

Dorchester

East Boston District Court
37 Meridian Street
East Boston, 02128
(617) 569-7550

East Boston, Winthrop

Roxbury District Court
85 Warren Street
Roxbury, 02119
(617) 427-7000

Roxbury

Trial Court of the Commonwealth-District Court Dept. South Boston Division
535 East Broadway
South Boston, 02127
(617) 268-8305

South Boston

Municipal Court of the West Roxbury District
445 Arborway
Jamaica Plain, 02130
(617) 971-1200

Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Readville, Roslindale, West Roxbury, *parts of Mission Hill, Mattapan sections of Boston

Middlesex County:

District Court Department of the Trial Court-Ayer Div.
25 East Main Street, Ayer, 01432
(978) 772-2100

Ashby, Ayer, Boxborough, Dunstable, Groton, Littleton, Pepperell, Shirley, Townsend, Westford, Devens Regional Enterprise Zone

Cambridge District Court

40 Thorndike Street
Cambridge, 02141
(617)494-4315

Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge

Concord District Court

305 Walden Street
Concord, 01742-3616
(978)369-0500

Acton, Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Maynard, Stow

Framingham District Court

600 Concord Street
P.O. Box 1969
Framingham, 01701
(508)875-7461

Ashland, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton, Sudbury, Wayland

Lowell District Court

41 Hurd Street
Lowell, 01852
(978)459-4101

Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Lowell, Tewksbury, Tyngsboro

Malden District Court

89 Summer Street
Malden, 02148
(781)322-7500

Everett, Malden, Melrose, Wakefield

Marlborough District Court

45 Williams Street
Marlborough, 01752
(508)485-3700

Hudson, Marlborough

Natick District Court

117 East Central Street
Natick, 01760
(508)653-8100

Natick, Sherborn

Newton District Court

1309 Washington Street
West Newton, 02465-2011
(617)244-3600

Newton

Somerville District Court

175 Fellsway
Somerville, 02145
(617)666-8000

Medford, Somerville

Waltham District Court

38 Linden Street
Waltham, 02452
(781)894-4500

Waltham, Watertown, Weston

Woburn District Court

30 Pleasant Street
Woburn 01801
(781)935-4000

Burlington, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Wilmington, Winchester, Woburn.

Norfolk County:

Brookline District Court
360 Washington Street
Brookline, 02146
(617) 232-4660

Brookline

Dedham District Court

631 High Street
Dedham, 02026
(781)329-4777

Dedham, Dover, Medfield, Needham, Norwood, Wellesley, Westwood

Quincy District Court

1 Dennis F. Ryan Parkway
Quincy, 02169
(617)471-1650

Braintree, Cohasset, Holbrook, Milton, Quincy, Randolph, Weymouth

Stoughton District Court

1288 Central Street
Stoughton, 02072
(781)344-2131

Avon, Canton, Sharon, Stoughton

Wrentham District Court

60 East Street
Wrentham, 02093
(508)384-3106 x261

Foxboro, Franklin, Medway, Millis, Norfolk, Plainville, Walpole, Wrentham

Essex County:

Gloucester District Court
197 Main Street
Gloucester, 01930
(978) 283-2620

Essex, Gloucester, Rockport

Haverhill District Court

PO Box 1389
James P. Ginty Blvd.
Haverhill, 01831
(978)373-4151 x125, x164, x165

Boxford, Bradford, Georgetown, Groveland, Haverhill

Ipswich District Court (District Court of Newburyport)

188 State Street
Newburyport, 01950
(978)356-2681

Hamilton, Ipswich, Topsfield, Wenham

District Court of Lawrence
2 Appleton Street
Lawrence, 01840
(978) 687-7184

Andover, Lawrence, Methuen, North Andover

Lynn District Court
580 Essex Street
Lynn, 01901
(781) 598-5200

Lynn, Marblehead, Nahant, Saugus, Swampscott

District Court of Newburyport
188 State Street
Newburyport, 01950
(978) 462-2652 x3034

Amesbury, Merrimack, Newbury, Newburyport, Rowley, Salisbury, West Newbury

District Court of Peabody
1 Lowell Street
Peabody, 01960
(978) 532-3100

Lynnfield, Peabody

Salem District Court
65 Washington Street
Salem, MA 01970
(978) 744-1167

Beverly, Danvers, Manchester (Manchester-by-the-Sea), Middleton, Salem

Bristol County:

Attleboro District Court

88 North Main Street
Attleboro, 02703
(508)222-5900 X392

Attleboro, Mansfield, North Attleboro, Norton

Fall River District Court Second District Court

45 Rock Street
Fall River, 02720
(508)679-8161

Fall River, Freetown, Somerset, Swansea, Westport

New Bedford District Court
75 North Sixth Street
New Bedford, 02740
(508) 999-9700

Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Freetown, New Bedford, Westport

Taunton District Court

120 Cohannet Street
Taunton, 02780
(508)824-4032 & 4033

Berkley, Dighton, Easton, Raynham, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Taunton

Berkshire County:

District Court of Southern Berkshire
9 Gilmore Avenue
Great Barrington, 01230
(413) 528-3520

Alford, Becket, Egremont, Great Barrington, Lee Lenox, Monterey, Mount Washington, New Marlborough, Otis, Sandisfield, Sheffield, Stockbridge, Tyringham, West Stockbridge (*Becket & Lenox共同管轄)

Northern District Court

111 Holden Street
North Adams, 01247
(413)663-5339

Adams, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Florida, Hancock, New Ashford, North Adams, Savoy, Williamstown, Windsor (* Hancock和Windsor共同管轄)

Pittsfield District Court

Central Berkshire District Court
24 Wendell Avenue
P.O. Box 875
Pittsfield, 01202
(413)499-0558 X7345

Becket, Dalton, Hancock, Hinsdale, Lanesborough, Lenox, Peru, Pittsfield, Richmond, Washington, Windsor (*Becket, Hancock, Lenox, & Windsor共同管轄)

Plymouth County:

Brockton District Court

P.O. Box 7610
215 Main Street
Brockton, 02303-7610
(508)587-8000

Abington, Bridgewater, Brockton, East Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, Whitman

Hingham District Court

28 George Washington Boulevard
Hingham, 02043
(781)749-7000

Hanover, Hingham, Hull, Norwell, Rockland, Scituate

Plymouth District Court

South Russell Street
Plymouth, 02360
(508)747-0500

Duxbury, Halifax, Hanson, Kingston, Marshfield, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton

Wareham District Court

2200 Cranberry Highway
West Wareham, 02576
(508)295-8300

Carver, Lakeville, Marion, Mattapoisett, Middleboro, Rochester, Wareham

Barnstable County:

Barnstable District Court

P. O. Box 427
Route 6A
Barnstable, 02630
(508)375-6787

Barnstable, Sandwich, Yarmouth

Orleans District Court

237 Rock Harbor Road
Orleans, 02653
(508)255-4700

Brewster, Chatham, Dennis, Eastham, Harwich, Orleans, Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet

Dukes County

Edgartown District Court

P. O. Box 1284
81 Main Street
Edgartown, 02539
(508)627-3751

Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, West Tisbury, Aquinnah (舊稱為:Gay Head), Gosnold, Elizabeth Islands

Nantucket County:

Nantucket District Court

P. O. Box 1800
16 Broad Street
Nantucket, 02554
(508)228-0460

Nantucket

Worcester County:

Clinton District Court

300 Boylston Street
Clinton, 01510
(978)368-7811

Berlin, Bolton, Boylston, Clinton, Harvard, Lancaster, Sterling, West Boylston

Dudley District Court

P. O. Box 100
West Main Street
Dudley, 01571
(508)943-7123 x143

Charlton, Dudley, Oxford, Southbridge, Sturbridge, Webster

East Brookfield District Court

544 East Main Street
East Brookfield, 01515-1701
(508)885-6305 x109

Barre, Brookfield, East Brookfield, Hardwick, Leicester, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Oakham, Paxton, Rutland, Spencer, Warren, West Brookfield

Fitchburg District Court

100 Elm Street
Fitchburg, 01420
(978)345-2111

Fitchburg, Lunenburg

Gardner District Court

108 Matthews Street
Gardner, 01440-0040
(978)632-2373

Gardner, Hubbardston, Petersham, Westminster

Leominster District Court

25 School Street
Leominster, 01453
(978)537-3722

Holden, Leominster, Princeton

Milford District Court

P. O. Box 370
161 West Street
Milford, 01757
(508)473-1260

Bellingham, Hopedale, Mendon, Milford, Upton

Uxbridge District Court

P. O. Box 580
261 South Main Street
Uxbridge, 01569
(508)278-2454

Blackstone, Douglas, Millville, Northbridge, Sutton, Uxbridge

Westborough District Court

175 Milk Street
Westborough, 01581
(508)366-8266 x122

Grafton, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Westborough

Winchendon District Court

80 Central Street
Winchendon, 01475
(978)297-0156

Ashburnham, Phillipston, Royalston, Templeton, Winchendon

Worcester District Court

50 Harvard Street
Worcester, 01608
(508)757-8350

Auburn, Millbury, Worcester

Franklin County:

District Court of Franklin
425 Main Street
Greenfield, 01301
(413) 774-5533

Ashfield, Bernardston, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Conway, Deerfield, Gill, Greenfield, Hawley, Heath, Leverett, Leyden, Monroe, Montague, Northfield, Rowe, Shelburne, Shutesbury,
Sunderland, Whatley

District Court Department - Orange Division
1 Court Square
Orange, 01364
(978) 544-8277 X214

Athol, Erving, New Salem, Orange, Warwick, Wendell

Hampden County:

District Court of Chicopee
30 Church Street
Chicopee, 01020
(413) 598-0099

Chicopee

District Court of Palmer
235 Sykes Street
Suite 3
Palmer, 01069
(413) 283-8916

Brimfield, Hampden, Holland, Ludlow, Monson, Palmer, Wales, Wilbraham

District Court of Holyoke
20 Court Plaza
Holyoke, 01040
(413) 538-9710

Holyoke

Springfield District Court

P. O. Box 2421
50 State Street
Springfield, 01101-2421
(413)748-8600

Longmeadow, Springfield, West Springfield

Westfield District Court

224 Elm Street
Westfield, 01085
(413)568-8946

Agawam, Blanford, Chester, Granville, Montgomery, Russell, Southwick, Tolland, Westfield

Hampshire County:

District Court Department - Northampton Division
15 Gothic Street
Northampton, 01060
(413) 584-7400 #2

Chesterfield, Cummington, Easthampton, Goshen, Hatfield, Huntington, Middlefield, Northampton Plainfield, Southampton, Westhampton, Williamsburg, Worthington

District Court of Eastern Hampshire
116 Russell Street Rt. 9
PO Box 778

Hadley, 01035
(413) 587-3120

Amherst, Belchertown, Granby, Hadley, Pelham, South Hadley, Quabbin Reservoir & Watershed Area, Ware



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