How long do I have to wait for my case to be heard?
Each 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).
San Luis Obispo County Small Claims Court Locations
In San Luis Obispo County, small claims court cases are heard in 2 courthouses across the County. The website address for San Luis Obispo County Superior Court is: www.slocourts.net. Here are the locations:
The Courthouse Annex is located at:1035 Palm St. #385 San Luis Obispo, CA 93408
The phone number is: 805-781-5677
Paso Robles Branch
The Paso Robles Branch is located at:901 Park St. Paso Robles, CA 93446
The phone number is: 805-781-5677
How can I prepare for my Small Claims Court Hearing?
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 important to prepare for your case beforehand. 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. Making sure you are prepared for the hearing goes along way toward a successful outcome. After each side has had the opportunity to present its side, the court will make a decision. The court will either make its ruling immediately, or notify both sides of its decision through the mail (make sure your address with the court is correct).
Statute of Limitations in Small Claims Court Cases
All claims must be filed before the statute of limitations has run. Statute of limitations is a legal term for the deadline to file a case. 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 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 find out when the statute of limitations begins to run. It is better to file sooner, rather than later, and let the judge decide.
What is the most a person can sue for in San Luis Obispo 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. An individual can only file two small claims court cases for more than $2,500.00 in one year. A party can file as many cases in small claims court with an amount of $2,500 or less.
San Luis Obispo County Small Claims Court Filing Fee
A filing fee is required and is set relative to the amount of money you are requesting for your claim. 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 to $5,000 – $50
- $5,000 to $10,000 – $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?
Small claims court is a special court where disputes between parties are handled quickly and inexpensively. Each County in California follows the same rules and procedures for small claims court cases. The rules are designed to be less complex and more less formal when compared to general 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 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.
Can I file my claim in San Luis Obispo County?
Normally, a case must be filed in the County where the Defendant resides (lives for a person or business has its principle place of business). Exceptions to this include automobile accidents (which can be filed where the accident happened). A person can file an action in small claims court if that person is at least 18 years old or a child who 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.
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. A party can discuss the case with an attorney before or after the the case to answer questions and help a party prepare for the hearing.
What types of cases are filed in San Luis Obispo 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.
What is Mediation for Small Claims Court?
Your San Luis Obispo 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 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.