What is Mediation for Small Claims Court?
You may be asked to have your mediated before the trial. 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. It is nothing to be scared of, just your chance to explain your side of the case to the mediator about what happened.
How can I prepare for my Small Claims Court Hearing?
Small Claims Court cases are often scheduled where a number of cases will be heard in the same department at the same time (one at a time). Because the court’s schedule is very busy (and has become more busy based on state cuts to the court’s budget), the court may expect you to present your entire case in a few minutes. It is essential to spend time preparing your case in advance. You should bring all the paperwork that supports your claim (or defense) including receipts, contracts, photographs, invoices, and any other paperwork. Make sure you bring any witnesses you need to the hearing if they are necessary to prove your case. 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 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 statute of limitations is different depending on the type of 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). If the defendant broke an oral contract, the plaintiff must file the case within two years of the breach. If the contract was written, you have three years from the date the contract was breached or broken to file the case. 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 find out when the statute of limitations begins to run. 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 Locations for Placer County
Small Claims Court cases are heard in 2 courthouses across the County. The website address for Placer County Superior Court (which will have more information for small claims court cases) is: www.placer.courts.ca.gov. Here are the following locations where Small Claims Court cases are heard in Placer County:
Bill Santucci Justice Center
The Bill Santucci Justice Center is located at:10820 Justice Center Drive Roseville, CA 95678
The phone number is: 916-408-6000
The Tahoe Courthouse is located at:2501 N. Lake Blvd. Tahoe City, CA 96145
The phone number is: 916-408-6000
What types of cases are filed in Placer County Small Claims Court?
Many different types 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.
When will my case be heard?
Placer 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, the small claims court trial should be between twenty and seventy days after the case is filed. Because of state cuts to the Placer County Superior Court budget, most hearings are set well past the seventy days.
What is 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 Placer 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 or business that files the action is the plaintiff. The person or persons who is being sued is called the defendant. In small claims court cases in California, neither party is allowed to have a lawyer represent you at the hearing. But, each party can talk to and ask questions to an attorney before or after the hearing if they wish.
How much does it cost to sue in Placer 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 a lawyer?
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.
What is the most a person can sue for in Placer 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 party can file as many cases in small claims court with an amount of $2,500 or less.
Can I file my claim in Placer County?
The general rule is the case or claim must be filed in the County where the defendant resides. There are a number of exceptions to this, like in an automobile accident which can also be filed in the County where the traffic collision happened. A party may file the claim in small claims court if that party is at least eighteen years old. A party can file as someone less than eighteen if he or she has been emancipated. 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.