Monterey County Small Claims Court, California

Which cases are filed in Monterey County?

Usually, a claim must be filed in the County where the person or business being sued 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 you are under 18 or not mentally competent, the judge must appoint a guardian at litem to represent you in small claims court. The guardian ad litem acts on behalf of the person and makes decisions specifically for that case only.

Small Claims Court Locations for Monterey County

Small Claims Court cases are heard in 1 courthouse across the County. The website address for Monterey County Superior Court is: www.monterey.courts.ca.gov. Here are the following locations where small claims cases are heard:

Monterey Division

The Monterey Division is located at:

1200 Aguajito Rd.
Monterey, CA 93940

The phone number is: 831-647-5800

Monterey County Small Claims Court

Small claims court is a special court where disputes between parties are handled quickly and inexpensively. The procedures and rules of evidence for small claims court cases in Monterey 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 party who is being sued is known as the defendant. In California small claims court cases, neither party can hire an attorney to represent them at the hearing. Each party is allowed to consult with an attorney before the hearing to answer questions and discuss the case.

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

All types of cases can be filed in small claims court. The most common types are automobile accidents, property damage, rent deposit disputes, homeowners association disputes, and contractor disputes.

Filing Fee for Small Claims Court cases in Monterey County

A filing fee is required and is set relative to the amount of money you are requesting for your claim. 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.

What is the most a person can sue for in Monterey County Small Claims Court?

A person cannot sue for more than $10,000 in a case. 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.

How much time do I have to file my case?

All cases must be filed by a certain deadline called the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a legal term that means the time someone has to file a claim. The time limit varies 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 child has two years from the date of his or her eighteenth birthday). If the case involves an oral contract which was broken or breached, you have two years from the date of the breach to file your action. 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 better to file sooner, rather than later, and let the judge decide.

What is Mediation for Small Claims Court?

You may be asked to have your mediated before the trial. 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 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).

Can I have an attorney represent me?

For California small claims court cases, you are not able to be represented by an attorney at the actual hearing. 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.

How can I prepare for my Small Claims Court Hearing?

Monterey County Small Claims Court

Monterey County Small Claims Court

Cases in Monterey County are often scheduled with 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 essential to spend time preparing your case in advance. This means organizing and bringing all paperwork and other documents that support your side (receipts, contracts, pictures, etc.). Bring other witnesses who were present during relevant times and can provide testimony about the incident. Being prepared for the hearing is half the battle. 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.

How long do I have to wait for my case to be heard?

Monterey County has its own Superior Court. The amount of time between when the claim is filed and heard varies between each County (and even within each County). Generally, you will go to court between twenty and seventy days after the claim is filed. However, because of state cuts to the court’s budget, most hearings are now being set well past the seventy day mark.

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