Hi, and Welcome to JustAnswer, My name isXXXXX am a licensed, practicing Attorney and would like to help,
I am sorry to hear of your situation and I have to say that this happens more often than you know because in many States, the Judges who sit in Small Claims Court are not Attorneys, they do not know the law, are sitting on the bench because of who they know, and they weren't paying much attention when they were sent for a few weeks of training after election. Before I got to the part where you refilled, I, too, was wondering why the first Judge did not award you the jusrisditional maximum of $5,000 and why your action was dismissed with prejudice. The first Judge should have either awarded you $5,000 or dismissed without prejudice.
Unless an Appeal is taken on a decision in Small Claims Court, that decision remains and is Res Judicata in any other Court, meaning that the defense an be raised that it has already been litigated, decided, and not appealed and cannot be relitigated.
However, you do have a way out. File a Motion to Vacate Judgment and/or Reconsideration based on Mistake in Law. If it comes before a different Judge, you can argue your original case and say you want to amend your Complaint to reflect a demand of $5,000, the jurisdictional maximum and you will get a rehearing. If it comes before the same Judge who decided the case and he denies your Motion, you will have the opportunity to Appeal that decision, provided you file your Appeal within the required Appeal period of time. So, either way, you will be okay, I promise you.
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