What is the most a person can sue for in Alpine County Small Claims Court?
The most a person can sue for in small claims court is $10,000. A corporation (or other corporate entity) cannot sue for more than $5,000. An individual can only file two small claims court cases for more than $2,500.00 in one year. A person can file as many claims asking for $2,500 or less.
When will my case be heard?
Alpine County has its own Superior Court. Time between when the case is filed to when the case is heard vary amongst each County (and even within the same County). Usually, the hearing for your small claims court case should be between twenty and seventy days after the case was filed. However, because of state cuts to the court’s budget, most hearings are now being set well past the seventy day mark.
Filing Fee for Small Claims Court cases in Alpine County
A filing fee is required and is set relative to the amount of money you are requesting for your claim. If a party has filed twelve or less claims over the past twelve months, the fee is:
- $0 to $1,500 – $30
- $1,500.01 to $5,000.00 – $50
- $5,000.01 to $10,000.00 – $75
Once a party has filed twelve cases within twelve months, each consecutive case has a $100 filing fee.
Can I have an attorney represent me?
No. A party cannot be represented by anyone else (including an attorney). But, you are able to consult and speak with an attorney before or after the hearing to answer questions or discuss strategy.
Alpine County Small Claims Court Hearing
Your case will probably be on the same calendar and heard at the same time as a number of other small claims court cases. Often, the court’s schedule is very busy, and the court will expect you to present your argument in just a few minutes. (It is usually smart to pay attention to the cases heard before yours to see which issues and questions the judge asks the parties). It is very important to spend time preparing for your case ahead of time. Bring any and all documents that support your case including: receipts, photos, contracts, and any other relevant documents. You should also bring other witnesses who can testify about your case. Ensuring that you are prepared for your case goes along way to securing a successful outcome. After each side has had the opportunity to present its side, the court will make a decision. The court will either make its ruling immediately, or notify both sides of its decision through the mail (make sure your address with the court is correct).
What is Small Claims Court?
Small Claims Court is a special court whose purpose is to handle cases an efficient, inexpensive fashion. The rules for small claims court cases in Alpine County are the same for any county in California. These rules are meant to be simpler than a regular civil case so that a non-lawyer can understand and represent himself or herself in court. The party who files the action or claim is known as the plaintiff. The Defendant is the person or business that is being sued. In small claims court cases in California, neither party is allowed to have a lawyer represent you at the hearing. Each party is allowed to consult with an attorney before the hearing to answer questions and discuss the case.
How much time do I have to file my case?
All cases must be filed by a certain deadline called the statute of limitations. Statute of limitations is a legal term for the deadline to file a case. The time limit is different depending on the type of the case. If you were hurt, you have two years from the date of the injury or the date the injury is discovered to file your claim. (A child has two years from the date of his or her eighteenth birthday to file a case). If the defendant broke an oral contract, the plaintiff must file the case within two years of the breach. If there is a written contract, the plaintiff has three years to file the case from the date the defendant breached the contract. If you lost money because you were tricked or lied to, you have three years from when you learn of the deceit to file your case. It can be very difficult to determine when the statute of limitations begins to run (even for veteran attorneys). It is better to file your case sooner, and let the judge decide, rather than later and lose having your case heard.
Types of Alpine County Small Claims Court Cases
All types of cases can be filed in small claims court. Common cases are: car accidents, damage to property, some landlord tenant disputes, and contractor disputes.
Which cases are filed in Alpine County?
Normally, a case must be filed in the County where the Defendant resides (lives for a person or business has its principle place of business). There are some exceptions to this rule (for example, an auto accident can be filed in the County where the accident occurred). A plaintiff can file a case in small claims court if the plaintiff is at least eighteen years old, or an emancipated minor. If someone is under eighteen or not mentally competent, the judge can appoint a person (usually a relative) as a guardian ad litem to act on that person’s behalf throughout the case. This person only acts on their behalf with respect to that particular small claims court case.
What is Mediation for Small Claims Court?
Your Alpine County Small Claims Court cases may be sent to mediation before it is heard at the actual trial or hearing. Mediation is a confidential, non-binding dispute resolution program where an impartial mediator attempts to bring both parties to an outcome that each side agrees to. Mediation may be offered before your trial or the very same day of the trial. Mediation is nothing to be scared of, but rather another chance for you to explain your side of the case (which will better prepare you for the actual hearing in front of the judge).
Small Claims Court Locations for Alpine County
In Alpine County, small claims court cases are heard in 1 courthouse across the County. The website address for Alpine County Superior Court is: alpine.courts.ca.gov. Here are the following locations where small claims cases are heard:
The Main Courthouse is located at:100 Foothill Rd. Bldg. C Markleeville, CA 96120
The phone number is: 530-694-2113