Can I have an attorney represent me?
No. A party cannot be represented by anyone else (including an attorney). 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.
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 essential to spend time preparing your case in advance. You should bring all the paperwork that supports your claim (or defense) including receipts, contracts, photographs, invoices, and any other paperwork. Make sure you bring any witnesses you need to the hearing if they are necessary to prove your case. Being prepared for the hearing is half the battle. 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.
Tehama County Small Claims Court Limits
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 party can only file two actions that are more than $2,500 in a year. A party can file as many cases in small claims court with an amount of $2,500 or less.
What is Mediation for Small Claims Court?
Your Tehama 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.
What is 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 Tehama 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 who files the lawsuit or action is called the plaintiff. The Defendant is the person or business that is being sued. In small claims court cases in California, neither party is allowed to have a lawyer represent you at the hearing. However, you are able to consult and speak with an attorney before or after the small claims court hearing.
Statute of Limitations in Small Claims Court Cases
All cases must be filed by a certain deadline called the statute of limitations. 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 an oral contract (or oral agreement) was broken, you have two years after the agreement was broken to file your case. If a written contract was broken, you have three years from when the agreement was broken. 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.
What types of cases are filed in Tehama County Small Claims Court?
A wide variety of cases can be filed in small claims court. Some common types of cases are automobile accidents, property damage incidents, homeowners association disputes, landlord tenant disputes (possible over security deposits), and contractor disputes.
Where are Small Claims Court Cases Heard in Tehama County?
Small Claims Court cases are heard in 1 courthouse across the County. The website address for Tehama County Superior Court (which will have more information for small claims court cases) is: www.tehamacourt.ca.gov. Here are the following locations where Small Claims Court cases are heard in Tehama County:
The Civil Division is located at:633 Washington St. #17 Red Bluff, CA 96080
The phone number is: 530-527-6441
Which cases are filed in Tehama 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 someone is under eighteen or not mentally competent, the judge can appoint a person (usually a relative) as a guardian ad litem to act on that person’s behalf throughout the case. This person only acts on their behalf with respect to that particular small claims court case.
How much does it cost to sue in Tehama 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 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.
How long do I have to wait for my case to be heard?
Each County has its own Superior Court. The amount of time between when the claim is filed and heard varies between each County (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. Because of state cuts to the Tehama County Superior Court budget, most hearings are set well past the seventy days.