Can I hire an attorney?
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.
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 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 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 far better to file the case and let the judge decide, rather than filing too late and having it dismissed.
Limits on Amador 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. An individual can only file two small claims court cases for more than $2,500.00 in one year. A person can file as many claims asking for $2,500 or less.
Amador 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 Amador 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 Defendant is the person or business that is being sued. 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.
Small Claims Court Hearing in Amador County
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 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. Making sure you are prepared for the hearing goes along way toward 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.
Types of Amador County Small Claims Court Cases
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 Mediation for Small Claims Court?
You may be asked to have your mediated before the 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 much does it cost to sue in Amador County Small Claims Court?
The plaintiff must pay a filing fee when the claim is filed. If a plaintiff has filed twelve or less claims over the past twelve months, the filing fees are:
- $0 to $1,500 – $30
- $1,500.01 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 long do I have to wait for my case to be heard?
Each County has its own Superior Court. The length of time between when the case is filed and when the hearing is varies for each county in California (and even within each county). Generally, you will go to court between twenty and seventy days after the claim is filed. Because of state cuts to the Amador County Superior Court budget, most hearings are set well past the seventy days.
Amador County Small Claims Court Locations
In Amador County, small claims court cases are heard in 1 courthouse across the County. The website address for Amador County Superior Court is: www.amadorcourt.org. Here are the locations:
The Main Courthouse is located at:500 Argonaut Lane Jackson, CA 95642
The phone number is: 209-257-2600
Which cases are filed in Amador 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. This person only acts on their behalf with respect to that particular small claims court case.