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Superior Court V Small Claims Court


dizzyliz
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From a California court website.

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What is Small Claims Court?

Small claims court is a special court where disputes are resolved quickly and inexpensively. The rules are simple and informal. The person who sues is the plaintiff. The person who is sued is the defendant. In small claims court, you may ask a lawyer for advice before you go to court, but you cannot have a lawyer in court. Individual plaintiffs can sue for up to $7,500. Businesses and Organizations can sue for up to $5,000. (*see below). If you have a claim for more than this amount, you may sue in the Civil Division or you may sue in the small claims court and give up your right to the amount over $7,500 or $5,000 whichever is applicable. You cannot, however, file more than two cases in small claims court for more than $2,500 each during a calendar year.

Who Can File a Claim?

You must be at least 18 years old to file a claim. If you are not yet 18, you may ask the court to appoint a guardian ad litem. This is a person who will act for you in the case. The guardian ad litem is usually a parent, relative, or adult friend.

A person who sues in small claims court must first make a demand if possible. This means that you have asked the defendant to pay, and the defendant has refused. If your claim is for possession of property, you must ask the defendant to give you the property.

Unless you fall within two technical exceptions, you must be the original owner of the claim. This means that if the claim is assigned, the buyer cannot sue in the small claims court. You must also appear at the small claims hearing yourself unless you filed the claim for a corporation or other entity that is not a natural person. If a corporation files a claim, an employee, officer, or director must act on its behalf. If the claim is filed on behalf of an association or other entity that is not a natural person, a regularly employed person of the entity must act on its behalf. A person who appears on behalf of a corporation or other entity must not be employed or associated solely for the purpose of representing the corporation or other entity in the small claims court. You must file a declaration with the court to appear in any of these instances.

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Bottom line is, Small Claims is for "the people."

Plaintiffs are going to sue in Superior Court (which also serves as Municipal Court) because bank officers aren't going to go to the trouble of representing the company, the amounts may be above the limit for Small Claims, and debt buyers are excluded in any case.

Hope this helps.

DH

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