Small Claims Court Resources
Small Claims Court is a division of the California Superior Courts, designed to be venues where consumers and small businesses can litigate civil damage cases without lawyers in the courtroom. Individuals and sole proprietors can bring claims for as much as $10,000. Corporations, partnerships, and LLC’s can bring claims for as much as $5000. The rules of procedure are much different in Small Claims Court than they are in the regular Superior Court. The Judicial Council of California has also adopted a different set of forms for use in Small Claims Court proceedings.
We hope the on-line resources on this page will aid both self-represented Plaintiffs and Defendants in preparing their Small Claims case. As virtually all these sites are maintained by public entities or non-profits, links and addresses change from time-to-time. If you find any of the links below to be inoperative, please email our office, and we’ll be pleased to update these resources. Thank you.
– The Law Office of Allen J. Capeloto
The San Mateo County Superior Court maintains an excellent website dedicated to providing information and forms for Small Claims Court: http://www.sanmateocourt.org/court_divisions/small_claims/
The Judicial Council of California also provides excellent general information on using the Small Claims Court, from filing to judgment: http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-smallclaims.htm#/
Small Claims Court Forms
For the most part, the forms used in Small Claims Court are uniform throughout the different counties of the State. Here’s a one-stop location to download just about any form you will need: http://www.courts.ca.gov/1017.htm
California Statutory Law
All the rules governing Small Claims Court procedures are contained in the California Code of Civil Procedure. You’ll find the Statutes of Limitations there as well. Other rules of law, like those governing Landlord-Tenant relations, or those governing Homeowners Associations, are found in the California Civil Code. These codes, and all other California statutes, can be found at: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes.xhtml
Business Agents for Service of Claims
When suing a Corporation, a Limited Liability Company, or a Limited Partnership, service of the Claim needs to be made on the designated “agent for service of process”, or on a corporate officer. Corporations, LLC’s, and LP’s registered to do business in California, file Statements with the Secretary of State which contain the names and addresses of these agents. This information needs to be placed on the SC-100 or SC-120 Claim forms. Go to the “Business Search” page of the Secretary of State’s website, type in the name of the business you are suing, and you can download or print the information and Statements containing the identity of business agents: https://businesssearch.sos.ca.gov/
Enforcing your Small Claims Judgment
Collecting on a Small Claims Judgment can sometimes be a challenge. The Sacramento County Law Library has an excellent guide with collection options and attendant procedures, together with links to the Judicial Council’s Self-Help website for even more information: http://saclaw.org/wp-content/uploads/lrg-enforcement-of-judgments.pdf