How long do I have to wait for my case to be heard?
Each 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). Generally, the small claims court trial should be between twenty and seventy days after the case is filed. Because of state cuts to the Mono County Superior Court budget, most hearings are set well past the seventy days.
Small Claims Court Hearing in Mono County
Your case will probably be on the same calendar and heard at the same time as a number of other small claims court cases. The court’s schedule is busy and because of this scheduling, you will only have a few minutes to present your case. (You can pay attention to the cases that are heard before you). 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 the judge has heard both sides, the judge may either make a decision at the hearing or later and send notice of the ruling to the parties by mail.
Mono County Small Claims Court Limits
A person cannot sue in small claims court for more than $10,000.00. A corporation (or other corporate entity) cannot sue for more than $5,000. A party can only file two actions that are more than $2,500 in a year. A party can file as many cases in small claims court with an amount of $2,500 or less.
How much does it cost to sue in Mono County Small Claims Court?
The plaintiff must pay a filing fee when the claim is filed. If a party has filed twelve or less claims over the past twelve months, the fee is:
- $0 to $1,500 – $30
- $1,500 to $5,000 – $50
- $5,000 to $10,000 – $75
Once a party has filed twelve cases within twelve months, each consecutive case has a $100 filing fee.
Can I hire an attorney?
A party is not able to be represented by anyone else in small claims court, including an attorney or lawyer. But, you are able to consult and speak with an attorney before or after the hearing to answer questions or discuss strategy.
Small Claims Court Statute of Limitations
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 plaintiff suffered personal injury, the statute is two years from the injury (or when you learned of the injury). (A child has two years from the date of his or her eighteenth birthday to file a case). If an oral contract (or oral agreement) was broken, you have two years after the agreement was broken to file your case. If a written contract was broken, you have three years from when the agreement was broken. If the defendant committed fraud, the plaintiff has three years from when the plaintiff first learned of the fraud. 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.
Small Claims Court Mediation
Your Mono County Small Claims Court cases may be sent to mediation before it is heard at the actual trial or hearing. Mediation is a legal term which means that each side will have a discussion with an impartial third party to try and reach an agreement for the outcome of the case. Mediation may be offered before your trial or the very same day of the trial. It is nothing to be scared of, just your chance to explain your side of the case to the mediator about what happened.
What is Small Claims Court?
Small Claims Court is a limited court designed to handle disputes and disagreements both quickly and inexpensively (at least compared to a general civil case). The procedures and rules of evidence for small claims court cases in Mono 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 person or persons who is being sued is called the defendant. In California small claims court cases, neither party can hire an attorney to represent them 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 Mono 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.
Small Claims Court Locations for Mono County
Small Claims Court cases are heard in 2 courthouses across the County. The website for Mono County Superior court is: www.monocourt.org. Here are the following locations where small claims cases are heard:
North County Branch
The North County Branch is located at:P.O. Box 537 Bridgeport, CA 93517
The phone number is: 760-932-5239
South County Branch – Main Office
The South County Branch – Main Office is located at:P.O. Box 1037 Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
The phone number is: 760-932-5239
Can I file my claim in Mono 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 a plaintiff is under eighteen or mentally incompetent, a judge will appoint someone (normally a relative) as a guardian ad litem. A guardian ad litem is an adult appointed by the court to represent that person only for that case.