Marin County Small Claims Court, California

Can I file my claim in Marin County?

The general rule is the case or claim must be filed in the County where the defendant resides. There are some exceptions to this rule (for example, an auto accident can be filed in the County where the accident occurred). 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. The guardian ad litem acts on behalf of the person and makes decisions specifically for that case only.

Small Claims Court in Marin County

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 Marin are the same for any County in California. The rules are designed to be less complex and more less formal when compared to general civil cases. The person who files the lawsuit or action is called 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. However, you are able to consult and speak with an attorney before or after the small claims court hearing.

Small Claims Court Hearing in Marin County

Marin County Small Claims Court
Marin 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 important to prepare for your case beforehand. Bring any and all documents that support your case including: receipts, photos, contracts, and any other relevant documents. Bring other witnesses who were present during relevant times and can provide testimony about the incident. 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.

Marin County Small Claims Court Locations

Small Claims Court cases are heard in 2 courthouses across the County. The website for Marin County Superior court is: Here are the locations:

Hall of Justice

The Hall of Justice is located at:

3501 Civic Center Dr.
San Rafael, CA 94903

The phone number is: 415-444-7040

Hall of Justice Mailing Address:

The Hall of Justice Mailing Address: is located at:

P.O. Box 4988
San Rafael, CA 94913

The phone number is: 415-444-7040

What types of cases are filed in Marin County Small Claims Court?

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 the most a person can sue for in Marin County Small Claims Court?

A person cannot sue for more than $10,000 in a case. 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.

Can I hire a lawyer?

No. A party cannot be represented by anyone else (including an attorney). But, you are able to consult and speak with an attorney before or after the hearing to answer questions or discuss strategy.

How much does it cost to sue in Marin County Small Claims Court?

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

If a party has filed twelve or more small claims court actions over the last twelve months, the filing fee is $100.

What is small claims court mediation?

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 before your trial or the very same day of the 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).

Statute of Limitations in Small Claims Court Cases

All cases must be filed before a certain deadline called the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a legal term that means the time someone has to file a claim. The time limit is different 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 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.

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

Marin 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). Usually, the hearing for your small claims court case should be between twenty and seventy days after the case was 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).

5 thoughts on “Marin County Small Claims Court, California”

  1. Senior Citizen on fixed retirement income suing a roofing contractor from Sacramento for fraud “never pulled permits’ told us he did and did work unpermitted, breach of contract (roof still leaks, and abandonment(won’t fix roof) of our roofing contract project. The contractor put on a new roof for $10,000 under contract written and signed by contractor in my house in San Rafael CA. Question 1. We go to small claims court here in San Rafael? 2. We got a bid from another LOCAL roofing contractor $5,200 to fix leaking area.. $11,000 to replace entire roof with permits and inspectors watching. Can I recover money from old unpermitted contractor in order to pay new permitted contractor to do repair work OR do I have to have the spend the additional $11,000 to recover the first $10,000? God Bless for helping us…Please answer!!

  2. House is located in manufactured home community of Contempo Marin
    in San Rafael. Rules for contractors and regulators are under State HCD – Housing and Community Development office in Sacramento….Please ad this fact to previous post!!

  3. House is located in manufactured home community of Contempo Marin
    in San Rafael. Rules for contractors and regulators are under State HCD – Housing and Community Development office in Sacramento….Please ad this fact to previous post!!

    Manufactured Housing rules different than housing with foundations. Small claims in San Rafael…not Sacramento?

  4. I am a defendant in a forthcoming case.. I can make a counter claim for damages. To do that do I need to become a plaintiff against the same party or could I be awarded damages without filing my own suit?

  5. This information has been very helpful. I have to sue a landlord for breach of contract, property damage caused by her dog, and return of my utilities deposit.


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