Contra Costa County Small Claims Court, California

Limits on Contra Costa 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 or corporation can file as many cases seeking $2,500.00 or less.

How much time do I have to file my case?

All claims must be filed before the statute of limitations has run. The statute of limitations is a legal term that means the time someone has to file a claim. The time limit is different depending on the type of the case. If the case involves personal injury to you, the case must be filed within two years of the injury or two years of when you first learned of the injury. (A minor has two years from his or her eighteenth birthday). If an oral contract (or oral agreement) was broken, you have two years after the agreement was broken to file your case. 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 were the victim of fraud, you have three years from when you first learn of the fraud 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 far better to file the case and let the judge decide, rather than filing too late and having it dismissed.

Contra Costa County Small Claims Court Locations

Contra Costa County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 3 courthouses across Contra Costa County. The website for Contra Costa County Superior court is: www.cc-courts.org. Here are the following locations where small claims cases are heard:

Wakefield Taylor Courthouse

The Wakefield Taylor Courthouse is located at:

725 Court St.
Martinez, CA 94553-1233

The phone number is: 925-646-4099

Pittsburg R.E. Arnason Justice Center

The Pittsburg R.E. Arnason Justice Center is located at:

1000 Center Drive
Pittsburg, CA 94565

The phone number is: 925-646-4099

Richmond – George D. Carroll Courthouse

The Richmond – George D. Carroll Courthouse is located at:

100 37th St. #185
Pittsburg, CA 94565

The phone number is: 925-646-4099

Contra Costa County Small Claims Court Filing Fee

The plaintiff must pay a filing fee when the claim is filed. If you filed twelve or less claims over the past twelve months, the filing fee is:

  • $0 to $1,500 – $30
  • $1,500 to $5,000 – $50
  • $5,000 to $10,000 – $75

If you filed twelve or more small claims court actions in the last twelve months, the filing fee is a constant $100.00.

When will my case be heard?

Each Superior Court is responsible for one County. The length of time between when the case is filed and when the hearing is varies for each county in California (and even within each county). Generally, you will go to court between twenty and seventy days after the claim is filed. But, because of state budget cuts to the court’s budget, these hearings are usually being set well past the seventy day mark (which should give you plenty of time to prepare for the trial).

Contra Costa County Small Claims Court Hearing

Contra Costa County Small Claims Court

Contra Costa County Small Claims Court

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 important to prepare for your case beforehand. This means organizing and bringing all paperwork and other documents that support your side (receipts, contracts, pictures, etc.). You should also bring other witnesses who can testify about your case. Making sure you are prepared for the hearing goes along way toward a successful outcome. After hearing both sides, the judge may make a decision at the hearing or notify the parties of the ruling by mail, several days later.

Contra Costa County 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 Contra Costa County are the same for any county in California. The rules are designed to be less complex and more less formal when compared to general civil cases. The person who files the lawsuit or action is called 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. However, you are able to consult and speak with an attorney before or after the small claims court hearing.

What types of cases are filed in Contra Costa County Small Claims Court?

A wide variety of cases can be filed in small claims court. Some common types of cases are automobile accidents, property damage incidents, homeowners association disputes, landlord tenant disputes (possible over security deposits), and contractor disputes.

Which cases are filed in Contra Costa County?

The general rule is the case or claim must be filed in the County where the defendant resides. Exceptions to this include automobile accidents (which can be filed where the accident happened). 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. A guardian ad litem is an adult appointed by the court to represent that person only for that case.

Can I hire an attorney?

No. A party cannot be represented by anyone else (including an attorney). A party can discuss the case with an attorney before or after the the case to answer questions and help a party prepare for the hearing.

What is small claims court mediation?

Your Contra Costa County Small Claims Court cases may be sent to mediation before it is heard at the actual trial or hearing. Mediation is a procedure where each side discusses the case with a third party (called the mediator), and the mediator tries to reach an agreement that both sides agree to. Mediation may be offered before your trial or the very same day of the trial. Mediation may work for your case, but at the very least, it will give you the chance to explain your case to someone (before you explain it to the judge).

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