San Bernardino County Small Claims Court, California

Filing Fee for Small Claims Court cases in San Bernardino County

The filing fee is required to be paid by the plaintiff when the claim is filed with the court. The amount of the filing fee is relative to the amount the plaintiff is seeking. If a plaintiff has filed twelve or less claims over the past twelve months, the filing fees are:

  • $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?

For California small claims court cases, you are not able to be represented by an attorney at the actual hearing. However, you are able to talk to an attorney before or after the small claims court trial to answer questions and discuss strategy.

Statute of Limitations in Small Claims Court Cases

All claims must be filed before the statute of limitations has run. This is a legal term which simply means the deadline for which you must file your 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 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 a written contract was broken, you have three years from when the agreement was broken. If you were the victim of fraud, you have three years from when you first learn of the fraud to file your case. It is often difficult to find out when it is too late to file. It is better to file sooner, rather than later, and let the judge decide.

When will my case be heard?

San Bernardino 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. 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).

What is Mediation for Small Claims Court?

San Bernardino County Superior Court may offer mediation for your claim before the actual 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).

Small Claims Court Hearing in San Bernardino County

San Bernardino County Small Claims Court

San Bernardino County Small Claims Court

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 very important to spend time preparing for your case ahead of time. You should bring all the paperwork that supports your claim (or defense) including receipts, contracts, photographs, invoices, and any other paperwork. Bring other witnesses who were present during relevant times and can provide testimony about the incident. 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 types of cases are filed in San Bernardino 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.

What is the most a person can sue for in San Bernardino 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. A person can only file two small claims court actions for more than $2,500 in one year. A person or corporation can file as many cases seeking $2,500.00 or less.

Small Claims Court Locations for San Bernardino County

San Bernardino County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 6 courthouses across San Bernardino County. The website address for San Bernardino County Superior Court is: www.sb-court.org. Here are the locations:

Barstow Court

The Barstow Court is located at:

235 E. Mountain View Street
Barstow, CA 92311

The phone number is: 760-718-3734

Fontana Court

The Fontana Court is located at:

17780 Arrow Blvd.
Fontana, CA 92335

The phone number is: 760-718-3734

Joshua Tree Superior Court

The Joshua Tree Superior Court is located at:

6527 White Feather Road
Fontana, CA 92335

The phone number is: 909-350-9322

Rancho Cucamonga Court

The Rancho Cucamonga Court is located at:

6527 White Feather Road
Joshua Tree, CA 92252

The phone number is: 760-974-3048

Rancho Cucamonga Court

The Rancho Cucamonga Court is located at:

8303 Haven Ave.
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

The phone number is: 909-285-3788

San Bernardino – Civil Division

The San Bernardino – Civil Division is located at:

303 West Third Street
San Bernardino, CA 92415

The phone number is: 909-285-3788

Small Claims Court in San Bernardino County

Small Claims Court is a special court whose purpose is to handle cases an efficient, inexpensive fashion. The procedures and rules of evidence for small claims court cases in San Bernardino 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 party who is being sued is known as 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.

Can I file my claim in San Bernardino 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 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 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.

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