San Joaquin County Small Claims Court Locations
In San Joaquin County, small claims court cases are heard in 1 courthouse across the County. The website address for San Joaquin County Superior Court is: www.stocktoncourt.org. Here are the following locations where Small Claims Court cases are heard in San Joaquin County:
The Stockton Courthouse is located at:222 E. Weber Ave. Stockton, CA 95202
The phone number is: 209-468-2949
Small Claims Court Mediation
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 can occur before the trial or even on the same day as your trial. Mediation may work for your case, but at the very least, it will give you the chance to explain your case to someone (before you explain it to the judge).
How long does it take my case to be heard?
Each Superior Court is responsible for one County. 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.
Filing Fee for Small Claims Court cases in San Joaquin County
The plaintiff must pay a filing fee when the claim is filed. If you filed twelve or less claims over the past twelve months, the filing fee is:
- $0 to $1,500 – $30
- $1,500.01 to $5,000.00 – $50
- $5,000.01 to $10,000.00 – $75
Once a party has filed twelve cases within twelve months, each consecutive case has a $100 filing fee.
How can I prepare for my 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 important to prepare for your case beforehand. This means organizing and bringing all paperwork and other documents that support your side (receipts, contracts, pictures, etc.). Make sure you bring any witnesses you need to the hearing if they are necessary to prove your case. 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).
How much time do I have to file my case?
All cases must be filed by a certain deadline called the statute of limitations. This is a legal term which simply means the deadline for which you must file your 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 minor has two years from 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 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 better to file sooner, rather than later, and let the judge decide.
San Joaquin County Small Claims Court
Small Claims Court is a special court whose purpose is to handle cases an efficient, inexpensive fashion. Each County in California follows the same rules and procedures for small claims court cases. The rules are designed to be less complex and more less formal when compared to general civil cases. The party who files the action or claim is known as 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. But, each party can talk to and ask questions to an attorney before or after the hearing if they wish.
Which cases are filed in San Joaquin County?
The general rule is the case or claim must be filed in the County where the defendant resides. Exceptions to this include automobile accidents (which can be filed where the accident 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. A guardian ad litem is an adult appointed by the court to represent that person only for that case.
San Joaquin County Small Claims Court Limits
A person cannot sue in small claims court for more than $10,000.00. A business can only sue for $5,000 or less in small claims court. 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.
Types of San Joaquin County Small Claims Court Cases
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.
Can I hire a lawyer?
No. A party cannot be represented by anyone else (including an attorney). However, you are able to talk to an attorney before or after the small claims court trial to answer questions and discuss strategy.