Calaveras County Small Claims Court
Small claims court is a special court where disputes between parties are handled quickly and inexpensively. The procedures and rules of evidence for small claims court cases in Calaveras 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 person or persons who is being sued is called the defendant. In small claims court cases in California, neither party is allowed to have a lawyer represent you at the hearing. But, each party can talk to and ask questions to an attorney before or after the hearing if they wish.
Can I hire a lawyer?
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.
Where are Small Claims Court Cases Heard in Calaveras County?
In Calaveras County, small claims court cases are heard in 1 courthouse across the County. The website for Calaveras County Superior court is: www.calaveras.courts.ca.gov. Here are the following locations where Small Claims Court cases are heard in Calaveras County:
The Government Center is located at:400 Government Center Drive San Andreas, CA 95249
The phone number is: 209-754-9800
Limits on Calaveras 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 party can only file two actions that are more than $2,500 in a year. A person or corporation can file as many cases seeking $2,500.00 or less.
How much does it cost to sue in Calaveras 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 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
If you filed twelve or more small claims court actions in the last twelve months, the filing fee is a constant $100.00.
How long do I have to wait for my case to be heard?
Calaveras 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. However, because of state cuts to the court’s budget, most hearings are now being set well past the seventy day mark.
Can I file my claim in Calaveras 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.
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 plaintiff suffered personal injury, the statute is two years from the injury (or when you learned of the injury). (A child has two years from the date of his or her eighteenth birthday to file a case). If the defendant broke an oral contract, the plaintiff must file the case within two years of the breach. If there is a written contract, the plaintiff has three years to file the case from the date the defendant breached the contract. 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 can be very difficult to determine when the statute of limitations begins to run (even for veteran attorneys). It is better to file sooner, rather than later, and let the judge decide.
Small Claims Court Hearing in Calaveras 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). The court’s schedule is busy and because of this scheduling, you will only have a few minutes to present your case. (You can pay attention to the cases that are heard before you). 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. Being prepared for the hearing is half the battle. 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.
What types of cases are filed in Calaveras 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.
Small Claims Court Mediation
Calaveras 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.