Filing Fee for Small Claims Court cases in Santa Clara County
A filing fee is required and is set relative to the amount of money you are requesting for your claim. 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.
Santa Clara County Small Claims Court Locations
Santa Clara County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 3 courthouses across Santa Clara County. The website address for Santa Clara County Superior Court (which will have more information for small claims court cases) is: www.scscourt.org. Here are the following locations where Small Claims Court cases are heard in Santa Clara County:
Superior Court – Downtown
The Superior Court – Downtown is located at:191 N. First St. San Jose, CA 95113-1090
The phone number is: 408-882-2100
Palo Alto Facility
The Palo Alto Facility is located at:270 Grant Ave. Palo Alto, CA 94306-1993
The phone number is: 408-882-2100
South County Courthouse
The South County Courthouse is located at:301 Diana Ave. Palo Alto, CA 94306-1993
The phone number is: 650-462-3800
Limits on Santa Clara County Small Claims Court
A person cannot sue for more than $10,000 in a case. A corporation (or other entity that is not a natural person), cannot sue in small claims court for more than $5,000.00. A party can only file two actions that are more than $2,500 in a year. A person can file as many claims asking for $2,500 or less.
Can I sue in small claims court in Santa Clara 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 a plaintiff is under eighteen or mentally incompetent, a judge will appoint someone (normally a relative) as a guardian ad litem. A guardian ad litem is an adult appointed by the court to represent that person only for that 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 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 minor has two years from his or her eighteenth birthday). If an oral contract (or oral agreement) was broken, you have two years after the agreement was broken to file your case. If a written contract was broken, you have three years from when the agreement was broken. If the defendant committed fraud, the plaintiff has three years from when the plaintiff first learned of the fraud. 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 Hearing in Santa Clara County
Your case will probably be on the same calendar and heard at the same time as a number of other small claims court cases. 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. 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 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.
What is small claims court mediation?
Your Santa Clara County Small Claims Court cases may be sent to mediation before it is heard at the actual trial or hearing. Mediation is a legal term which means that each side will have a discussion with an impartial third party to try and reach an agreement for the outcome of the case. Mediation may be offered before your trial or the very same day of the 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).
What types of cases are filed in Santa Clara 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.
When will my case be heard?
Each 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.
Santa Clara County Small Claims Court
Small Claims Court is a limited court designed to handle disputes and disagreements both quickly and inexpensively (at least compared to a general civil case). The rules for small claims court cases in Santa Clara County are the same for any county in California. 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. In California small claims court cases, neither party can hire an attorney to represent them at the hearing. Each party is allowed to consult with an attorney before the hearing to answer questions and discuss the case.