What is Mediation for Small Claims Court?
Your Sacramento County Small Claims Court cases may be sent to mediation before it is heard at the actual trial or hearing. 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. 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 sue in small claims court in Sacramento County?
Usually, a claim must be filed in the County where the person or business being sued 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 you are under 18 or not mentally competent, the judge must appoint a guardian at litem to represent you in small claims court. The guardian ad litem acts on behalf of the person and makes decisions specifically for that case only.
What types of cases are filed in Sacramento 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.
Filing Fee for Small Claims Court cases in Sacramento County
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 party has filed twelve or less claims over the past twelve months, the 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.
Small Claims Court Hearing in Sacramento 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). 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. Bring other witnesses who were present during relevant times and can provide testimony about the incident. Making sure you are prepared for the hearing goes along way toward 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.
Small Claims Court Statute of Limitations
All claims must be filed before the statute of limitations has run. The statute of limitations is a legal term that means the time someone has to file a claim. 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 child has two years from the date of 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 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 can be very difficult to find out when the statute of limitations begins to run. It is better to file your case sooner, and let the judge decide, rather than later and lose having your case heard.
What is Small Claims Court?
Small claims court is a special court where disputes between parties are handled quickly and inexpensively. The rules for small claims court cases in Sacramento County 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 party who is being sued is known as the defendant. For small claims court cases in California, neither the plaintiff or the defendant is allowed to 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.
Sacramento County Small Claims Court Limits
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 person can only file two small claims court actions for more than $2,500 in one year. A person or corporation can file as many cases seeking $2,500.00 or less.
How long does it take my case to be heard?
Sacramento 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. 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).
Can I hire an attorney?
For California small claims court cases, you are not able to be represented by an attorney at the actual hearing. 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 Sacramento County?
In Sacramento County, small claims court cases are heard in 2 courthouses across the County. The website address for Sacramento County Superior Court (which will have more information for small claims court cases) is: www.saccourt.ca.gov. Here are the following locations where small claims cases are heard:
Gordon D. Schaber Sacramento County Courthouse
The Gordon D. Schaber Sacramento County Courthouse is located at:720 Ninth St. Sacramento, CA 95814-1398
The phone number is: 916-875-7514
Carol Miller Justice Center
The Carol Miller Justice Center is located at:301 Bicentennial Circle Sacramento, CA 95826-2881
The phone number is: 916-875-7514