Most civil cases that are heard in the Superior Court involve disputes in which a plaintiff claims that he or she has been hurt by the actions of the defendant and seeks monetary compensation. Examples of such cases are those involving automobile accidents, medical malpractice, breaches of contracts and landlord/tenant disputes.
Civil cases in which the amount in controversy is more than $15,000 are heard in the Civil Division of Superior Court. Cases in which the amount in controversy is between $3,000 and $15,000 are heard in the Special Civil Part of the Civil Division. Those in which the amount in controversy is less than $3,000 also are heard in the Special Civil Part and are known as small claims cases. In all, about 460,000 cases are heard in the Civil Division and Special Civil Part.
Civil cases in which monetary damages are not being sought are heard in the General Equity Division of Superior Court. General Equity judges handle non-jury cases such as those involving trade secrets, labor matters, foreclosures and other disputes in which court relief, often in the form of restraining orders, is sought on an emergency basis.