Small Claims FAQs & General Information
For dollar limits and filing fees for small claims cases, you may refer to Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §116.110 - §116.950. You can find these laws at California Legislative Information, at the Calaveras County Law Library, or at the Legal Aid Self-Help Center (209) 754-1443. You can obtain small claims forms from the court clerk or at Judicial Council Forms.
For online help filling out your court forms, visit https://www.legalican.com/. For information about who must appear at the small claims hearing, see CCP §116.540 and use form SC-109 in appropriate cases. Please note there are different rules for "natural persons" and other entities regarding how much can be claimed by the plaintiff or in a counter-claim (see below for further information). You are limited to filing no more than two claims anywhere in the State of California for over $2,500 in one calendar year. You may file an unlimited amount of claims for $2,500 or less.
Examples of Cases Heard in Small Claims
Small claims court is a special court where disputes are resolved quickly and inexpensively. The rules are simple and informal. Claims for money damages as a result of car accidents, vehicle sales, vehicle repairs, contract disputes, fence disputes, landlord/tenant disputes, personal injury, property damage, theft, trespass, nuisance, etc. may be heard in Small Claims Court. The person who sues is the plaintiff. The person who is sued is the defendant. In small claims court, you may ask a lawyer for advice before you go to court, but you cannot have a lawyer in court.
Small Claims matters are filed in the Civil Division.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations When Filing A Small Claims Suit?
The Statute of Limitations is based on several different factors. You can find this information, and more at the California Courts Self-Help Center, Small claims in California guide.
Where Is Proper Venue To File Small Claims Suit?
There can be one or more factors that determine venue for a small claims case. You can find this information, and more at the California Courts Self-Help Center, Small claims in California guide.
Filing Small Claims Suit With The Court
- You will need to submit the original Plaintiff’s Claim to the Court for filing. You may also bring up to 3 additional copies to be stamped by the Court. If you need the court to make copies for you, you will be charged 50 cents per page unless you file a request to waive court fees and it is approved. Please note that the Plaintiff’s Claim consists of six pages and all six pages must accompany your filing.
- If filing by mail, send all forms and copies with a self-addressed, stamped envelope and a check or money order payable to Calaveras Superior Court, 400 Government Center Drive, San Andreas, CA 95249. All checks must contain an imprinted name and address.
- You may also submit your forms in person at the clerk’s window or by electronic filing through the e-Filing Information link on our homepage.
Proof Of Service Of Your Claim On The Defendant
After you have filed your claim, you must have the "Plaintiff's Claim and Order to Defendant" form (SC-100) served on the defendant at least 15 calendar days before the trial date (20 days if the defendant lives or does business outside the county). For more information regarding service options and requirements, please contact the local Self-Help Legal Center or go to California Courts Self-Help Center. Forms may be obtained at the Judicial Council Forms website.
Get A New Court Date If You Need More Time To Serve The Defendant
If you have not served any defendant named in the case, you may ask for a new trial date by in writing or by going to the small claims counter in person. Your request must be received by the court at least 3 court days before the scheduled trial date. There is no fee.
Either Party Can Ask For A Later Hearing Date
If any defendant has been served, the party that wants the trial moved to a later date must ask for this in writing. There must be a good reason, and a $10.00 fee will be charged. The person asking for a later hearing must either mail or deliver a copy of the request to all other parties in the case. The request must be received by the court at least 10 calendar days before the hearing date. Form (SC-150) "Request to Postpone Small Claims Hearing" and form (SC-152) "Order on Request to Postpone Small Claims Hearing" are available on line at the Judicial Council Forms website or at the court clerk's office.
How To Collect Once A Judgment Has Been Granted
Please refer to the reverse of the Notice of Entry of Judgment or at the California Courts Self-Help Center.