Stanislaus County Small Claims Court, California

Stanislaus County Small Claims Court Locations

Stanislaus County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 1 courthouse across Stanislaus County. The website for Stanislaus County Superior court is: www.stanct.org/courts/index.html. Here are the locations:

Civil

The Civil is located at:

801 10th Street, 4th and 6th Floors
Modesto, CA 95353

The phone number is: 209-530-3102

Types of Stanislaus County Small Claims Court Cases

Many different 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.

Limits on Stanislaus 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 party can only file two actions that are more than $2,500 in a year. A party can file as many cases in small claims court with an amount of $2,500 or less.

Can I hire an attorney?

A party is not able to be represented by anyone else in small claims court, including an attorney or lawyer. However, you are able to talk to an attorney before or after the small claims court trial to answer questions and discuss strategy.

What is Mediation for Small Claims Court?

Your Stanislaus 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 can occur before the trial or even on the same day as your 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).

Can I file my claim in Stanislaus County?

Usually, a claim must be filed in the County where the person or business being sued 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 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.

Small Claims Court in Stanislaus 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 Stanislaus 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. In small claims court cases in California, neither party is allowed to have a lawyer represent you at the hearing. Each party is allowed to consult with an attorney before the hearing to answer questions and discuss the case.

How much does it cost to sue in Stanislaus 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 you filed twelve or less claims over the past twelve months, the filing fee is:

  • $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.

How can I prepare for my Small Claims Court Hearing?

Stanislaus County Small Claims Court

Stanislaus County Small Claims Court

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 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. 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.

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 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 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 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 your case sooner, and let the judge decide, rather than later and lose having your case heard.

When will my case be heard?

Stanislaus County has its own Superior Court. The amount of time between when the claim is filed and heard varies between each County (and even within each 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).

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