San Luis Obispo County Small Claims Court, California

What types of cases are filed in San Luis Obispo County Small Claims Court?

All 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.

What is the most a person can sue for in San Luis Obispo County Small Claims Court?

The most a person can sue for in small claims court is $10,000. A business can only sue for $5,000 or less in small claims court. A person can only file two small claims court actions for more than $2,500 in one year. A person can file as many claims asking for $2,500 or less.

What is Mediation for Small Claims Court?

San Luis Obispo 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 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.

Which cases are filed in San Luis Obispo 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 some exceptions to this rule (for example, an auto accident can be filed in the County where the accident occurred). A person can file an action in small claims court if that person is at least 18 years old or a child who has been emancipated. 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. This person only acts on their behalf with respect to that particular small claims court case.

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

San Luis Obispo 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).

How much does it cost to sue in San Luis Obispo 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 party has filed twelve or less claims over the past twelve months, the fee is:

  • $0 to $1,500 – $30
  • $1,500.01 to $5,000.00 – $50
  • $5,000.01 to $10,000.00 – $75

If you filed twelve or more small claims court actions in the last twelve months, the filing fee is a constant $100.00.

San Luis Obispo County Small Claims Court Locations

San Luis Obispo County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 2 courthouses across San Luis Obispo County. The website address for San Luis Obispo County Superior Court (which will have more information for small claims court cases) is: www.slocourts.net. Here are the following locations where small claims cases are heard:

Courthouse Annex

The Courthouse Annex is located at:

1035 Palm St. #385
San Luis Obispo, CA 93408

The phone number is: 805-781-5677

Paso Robles Branch

The Paso Robles Branch is located at:

901 Park St.
Paso Robles, CA 93446

The phone number is: 805-781-5677

Small Claims Court Hearing in San Luis Obispo County

San Luis Obispo County Small Claims Court

San Luis Obispo 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). 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 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.). You should also bring other witnesses who can testify about your case. Ensuring that you are prepared for your case goes along way to securing a successful outcome. After hearing both sides, the judge may make a decision at the hearing or notify the parties of the ruling by mail, several days later.

Small Claims Court in San Luis Obispo County

Small claims court is a special court where disputes between parties are handled quickly and inexpensively. Each County in California follows the same rules and procedures for small claims court cases. These rules are meant to be simpler than a regular civil case so that a non-lawyer can understand and represent himself or herself in court. The person or business that files the action is the plaintiff. The party who is being sued is known as the defendant. 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. But, each party can talk to and ask questions to an attorney before or after the hearing if they wish.

Small Claims Court Statute of Limitations

All cases must be filed before a certain deadline called the statute of limitations. Statute of limitations is a legal term for the deadline to file a case. The statute of limitations is different depending on the type of 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 to file a case). 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 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 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.

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. But, you are able to consult and speak with an attorney before or after the hearing to answer questions or discuss strategy.

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