Where are Small Claims Court Cases Heard in San Francisco County?
San Francisco County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 1 courthouse across San Francisco County. The website for San Francisco County Superior court is: www.sfsuperiorcourt.org. Here are the following locations where small claims cases are heard:
Civic Center Courthouse
The Civic Center Courthouse is located at:400 McAllister St. San Francisco, CA 94102
The phone number is: 415-551-4000
San Francisco County Small Claims Court Hearing
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 very important to spend time preparing for your case ahead of time. 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. Making sure you are prepared for the hearing goes along way toward 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).
How much does it cost to sue in San Francisco County Small Claims Court?
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.
Limits on San Francisco 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 party can file as many cases in small claims court with an amount of $2,500 or less.
Can I file my claim in San Francisco County?
Usually, a claim must be filed in the County where the person or business being sued 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 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. This person only acts on their behalf with respect to that particular small claims court case.
Can I hire a lawyer?
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.
Small Claims Court Statute of Limitations
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 you were hurt, you have two years from the date of the injury or the date the injury is discovered to file your claim. (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 can be very difficult to find out when the statute of limitations begins to run. It is far better to file the case and let the judge decide, rather than filing too late and having it dismissed.
Small Claims Court in San Francisco County
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 San Francisco are the same for any County in California. The rules for small claims court are simple and informal compared to the rules of regular civil cases. The party who files the action or claim is known as the plaintiff. The Defendant is the person or business that is being sued. For small claims court cases in California, neither the plaintiff or the defendant is allowed to 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 San Francisco County Small Claims Court?
A wide variety 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 small claims court mediation?
San Francisco County Superior Court may offer mediation for your claim before the actual 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 on the day of your actual court hearing, but before you see the judge. It is nothing to be scared of, just your chance to explain your side of the case to the mediator about what happened.
How long does it take my case to be heard?
San Francisco 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. However, because of state cuts to the court’s budget, most hearings are now being set well past the seventy day mark.