SMALL CLAIMS
Customer Service is provided at: 500 Argonaut Lane,Jackson,CA.95642
The Courthouse is open Monday through Friday (excluding holidays).

The Courtrooms are open for access from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
The Clerk’s Office is open to the public:
Monday-Thursday 9:30AM to 2:30PM
Friday CLOSED on 1st & 3rd Fridays of the month.
Friday 9:30 AM to 12:00 NOON all other Friday's

Clerk's Office Closure Days:
2014 - Dec 5,19
2015 - Jan 2,16; Feb 6,20; Mar 6,20; Apr 3,17; May 1,15; Jun 5,12;

Adobe pdf file NEW HOURS OF OPERATION

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Call: 209-257-2603
SEARCH FOR A CASE ONLINE
Available 24 hours a day to assist you in locating Case information.

OVERVIEW

SMALL CLAIMS OVERVIEW
Small Claims Court handles Civil cases asking for $10,00.00 or less. Small Claims Court is designed to be simple, quick, and cost less than a regular Civil lawsuit. In Small Claims Court there are:

No lawyers
No rules of evidence
No juries

If you are suing, you are the plaintiff. If you are being sued, you are the defendant.
SMALL CLAIMS BASICS
+ Who can sue in Small Claims Court?
In order to sue in Small Claims Court you must be:
At least 18 years old or legally emancipated
Mentally competent to file or defend a case in Small Claims Court
Almost anyone can sue or be sued in Small Claims Court:
You can sue another person or a business
A business can sue a person or another business
But these types of cases are not allowed in Small Claims Court:
If your case would be against a federal agency
Collection agencies and insurance companies cannot sue in
Small Claims Court for their clients
+ What types of cases are heard in Small Claims Court?
There are many kinds of cases that can be filed in Small Claims Court. Some examples are:
Your former landlord refuses to return your security deposit
Someone dents your car and refuses to pay for repairs
A store refuses to fix or replace your new TV that does not work
Your tenant caused damage to an apartment that cost more
than the security deposit
You were cheated when you bought a car and want your money back
A friend asked for a loan and refuses to pay you back
+ How much money can you ask for?
The maximum amount that you can claim depends on who you are and who you are suing:
You are: You can sue for up to:
An Individual or Sole Proprietor $10,000.00
A Corporation or Business $5,000.00

 

NOTE:
There are some exceptions involving guarantors and sureties. If you think one of the exceptions might apply to your situation, you should contact the Small Claims Advisor.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Call: 800-815-2947
If you have a claim greater than these amounts, you may sue in the Superior Court or you may sue in the Small Claims Court. However, if you choose the Small Claims Court, you give up your right to the amount that is greater than the maximum amounts shown above.
+ Do you have to pay a fee to file a claim in Small Claims Court?
You will be charged a fee to file a claim in Small Claims Court. The filing fee will depend on how much you are seeking to recover and whether you have filed any other claims in the previous 12 months. The fees are as follows:

IF YOU HAVE FILED 12 OR FEWER CLAIMS IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS
Your claim amount is: Your filing fee is:
$0.01 to $1500.00 $30.00
$1500.01 to $5,000.00 $50.00
$5000.01 to $10,000.00 $75.00


IF YOU HAVE FILED MORE THAN 12 CLAIMS IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS
Your claim amount is: Your filing fee is:
$0.01 to $10,000.00 $100.00

You may only file 2 cases each year for more than $2,500.00.

Fee Waiver
You may qualify for a waiver of fees. For more information, please refer to the
Information Sheet on Waiver of Court Fees and Costs (FW-001-Info).
Recovery of fees
Filing fees are included in the costs you may be able to recover from the defendant
if the Court rules in your favor at trial.
+ Can someone else represent me?

If you are under 18 or have been declared mentally incompetent by a court you may be represented by a guardian ad litem. If you are a minor, this person is usually a parent. If the court decides you are unable to properly present your claim or defense for any reason, the court may allow another person to help you. The person who helps you cannot be an attorney.

You usually cannot send anyone else to represent you in court if you are involved in a Small Claims case.

There are a few exceptions to the rule that you must represent yourself.

If you are: You may be represented by:
Business Owner A regular employee if the claim can be proved by account information and the employee has knowledge of the account.
Partnership One of the partners.
Corporation An employee, officer, or director if they have not been hired
just to represent the corporation in court.
Military Service Member Another person. You will need to submit declarations to support your claim or defense and meet the following requirements:
You are serving on active duty in the armed forces
You were assigned to your duty station after
the case was started
Your assignment is for more than 6 months

NOTE: There are some exceptions involving guarantors and sureties. If you think one of the exceptions might apply to your situation, you should contact the Small Claims Advisor.

If you have a claim greater than these amounts, you may sue in the Superior Court or you may sue in the Small Claims Court. However, if you choose the Small Claims Court, you give up your right to the amount that is greater than the maximum amounts shown above.

+ Does the Court provide foreign language interpreters for Small Claims Court?

The Court does not provide foreign language interpreters for parties in Small Claims Court. However, if the Court determines a party does not speak or understand English sufficiently to comprehend the proceedings or give testimony, and needs assistance, the Court may permit another person (other than an attorney or a child) to interpret for that party.

+ What are the time limits to file a claim?

Most claims must be filed within a set time limit or statute of limitations.
The time limits will depend on the nature of the case.

IF YOU ARE SUING SOMEONE ELSE.
+ What forms do you need to file?
You will need to complete the Plaintiff’s Claim and Order to Go to Small Claims Court
(SC-100) to start your Small Claims case.

You may also find the Information for the Small Claims Plaintiff (SC-150) form
very helpful in explaining the Small Claims process.

Other forms are available at the California Courts website
You need to:
File the original Plaintiff’s Claim and one copy with the Clerk’s Office.
(The Plaintiff’s Claim is a five-page document.)
Make at least one copy of the Plaintiff’s Claim for each named defendant.
Make one copy of the Plaintiff’s Claim to keep for yourself.
+ What do you do after you file?
What do you do after you file?
Proper legal notice of your claim and the date set for trial must be given to the person being sued. You provide proper notice when you serve the Plaintiff’s Claim and Order to Defendant on the defendant. This is called service of process.
The defendant may be served in the following ways:
Personal or Substitute Service
Certified Mail by the clerk of the court.
NOTE:
Only the clerk of the court may serve the defendant by Certified Mail.
Unless the clerk of the court served the defendant by Certified Mail, you need to make sure a completed and signed  Proof of Service – Small Claims (SC-104) is filed with the Court before the date of trial. The Proof of Service form must be signed by the person who served the defendant and you must file the original with the Court.
Service by Certified Mail
If the clerk serves the Plaintiff’s Claim by Certified Mail, service is not considered complete until the defendant signs the delivery receipt. If the Postal Service is unable to obtain a signed delivery receipt from the defendant, the Plaintiff’s Claim will be returned as unclaimed.
You need to check with the clerk’s office at least two weeks before the date scheduled for trial
to determine whether service by Certified Mail was completed.
+ How do you find someone to serve the defendant with the Plaintiff’s Claim and Order to Defendant?
If you did not ask the clerk of the court to serve the defendant by Certified Mail, or if the Postal Service returned the Plaintiff’s Claim to the Court as unclaimed, some options for having the claim served are:
If the defendant lives or has a place of business in Amador County, Personal or Substitute Service can be completed by contacting:
Amador County Sheriff’s Office Civil Bureau: 209-223-6500
http://www.amadorsheriff.org/administration
Private
Process
Server
Listed in the phone book or
on the internet under "Process Servers"
Any person
18 years of age
or older,
who is not a
party to the case.
If you are the plaintiff,
you may not serve the defendant.
If the defendant does not live or does not have a place of business in Amador County, Personal or Substitute Service can be completed by contacting:
County Sheriff
(not all county
Sheriffs serve documents
for parties in
Small Claims
cases)
Contact the civil division of the the Sheriff's office
in the county where the defendant lives
or has a place of business.
Private
Process
Server
Listed in the phone book or
on the internet under "Process Servers"
Any person
18 years of age
or older,
who is not a
party to the case.
If you are the plaintiff,
you may not serve the defendant.
+ How many days before the trial do I need to serve the defendant?
SERVICE OF THE PLAINTIFF’S CLAIM MUST BE COMPLETED
A CERTAIN MINIMUM NUMBER OF DAYS BEFORE THE HEARING:
If the defendant resides in
Amador County
At least 15 calendar days before the hearing date if the defendant resides within the county where the action is filed.
If the defendant
does not reside
in Amador County
At least 20 calendar days before the hearing date if the defendant resides outside the county where the action is filed.
WHEN THE SERVICE OF THE PLAINTIFF’S CLAIM IS CONSIDERED COMPLETE DEPENDS ON THE METHOD OF SERVICE USED:
Certified Mail
(only the Court Clerk may serve using this method)
The date that the defendant signs the mail return receipt
Personal Service The date of the personal service
Substitute Service The 10th day after mailing for substituted service
WHAT IF I AM BEING SUED?
+ What Should You Do After You Receive an Order to Appear?
The Notice to Appear commands you to attend a small claims court hearing at a date, time, and place specified in the order. If you don't know why you're being sued, contact the plaintiff immediately for an explanation. The plaintiff's name and address appear on the plaintiff's claim form (Form SC-100).
Never ignore an order to appear in court, even if you believe the plaintiff's claim is invalid or was not properly served. If you do not come to court, the court may hear and decide the case without you.
If a court judgment is issued against you, your money or property can be taken to pay the judgment. In addition, your credit record may include the fact a judgment was entered against you. If you are a member of a licensed profession or occupation, the judgment may be included in the records of the agency that licenses you.
+ What if You Owe All or Part of the Plaintiff's Claim?
You can try to reach a settlement (voluntary resolution of the matter) with the plaintiff, or let the court decide the case. If you're unable to resolve the matter directly with the plaintiff, you should plan to appear at the date, time, and place set for the hearing.
+ What if You Can't Attend the Court Hearing?
If you need to have the hearing postponed to a later date, you can prepare and file a written Request to Postpone Small Claims Hearing (Form SC-110). You must file your request with the clerk of the small claims court, and send a copy of the request to the other party. You must have a sufficient reason to receive a postponement of a court hearing date.
+ What If the Plaintiff Owes you Money?
If you believe the plaintiff has caused you injury or owes you money for any reason, you can file a defendant's claim against the plaintiff in the same small claims court action. A defendant's claim does not need to be related to the plaintiff's claim. A defendant's claim could have arisen from a different event or transaction. A defendant can file a claim against the plaintiff by completing and filing a Defendant's Claim and Order to Go to Small Claims Court
(Form SC-120).
If you file a claim against the plaintiff, the same basic rules and procedures generally apply. Legal principles, such as statutes of limitations (which limit the filing of claims) also apply. Ordinarily, the plaintiff must receive a copy of the defendant's claim (Form SC-120) at least five days before the scheduled hearing date. However, if you received the plaintiff's claim less than 10 days before the scheduled hearing date, you can serve a Defendant's claim as late as one day before the scheduled hearing date.
After the Judgment
The small claims court judgment becomes final and enforceable 30 days after the small claims clerk
has delivered or mailed the Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form SC-130), provided the defendant
has not filed a timely Notice of Appeal (Form SC-140) or a Notice of Motion to Vacate Judgment
(Form SC-135). If the defendant files an appeal and loses, the judgment becomes enforceable after transfer of the case back to the small claims court.
Once the judgment is fully paid, the judgment creditor is required to complete, sign and file
with the small claims court an Acknowledgment of Satisfaction of Judgment (Form SC-130) .
The form appears on the back side of the Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form SC-130), and it is also available for printing at the Judicial Council's self-help website.
If a judgment against you becomes final, and you do not pay it within 30 days, you must complete a
Judgment Debtor's Statement of Assets (Form SC-133) and send the completed form to the judgment creditor. This form, which you receive along with the Notice of Entry of Judgment
(Form SC-130), requires you to provide information concerning your property and sources of income. The judgment creditor can then use the information to assist in collecting the amount you owe.
If you do not complete and mail the Judgment Debtor’s Statement of Assets to the Judgment Creditor, you may have to go to court to answer questions and the court may impose penalties upon you.

Video

FORMS

Form Description Updated Format
Judicial Council forms There are currently no local court forms available for Small Claims.
All forms needed can be found on the Judicial Council website.
  Adobe pdf file