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2 days ago I went to file 2 TCPA cases in small claims California. The clerk said that they only accept claims that are 1 page long. Mine was 2 pages in length. She said she could not and would not file my claim, and that I must shorten it to fit on one page. 

 

Are clerks allowed to refuse to file documents?

 

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2 days ago I went to file 2 TCPA cases in small claims California. The clerk said that they only accept claims that are 1 page long. Mine was 2 pages in length. She said she could not and would not file my claim, and that I must shorten it to fit on one page. 

 

Are clerks allowed to refuse to file documents?

 

Yes.  If you do not conform to the rules of the court they are required to reject the document(s).  You got lucky that she stopped you.  There are some clerks who will simply take it and your filing fee and then let the court toss your case for not being in the proper format.  This requires you to re-file and pay another fee.

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It does comply with the rules of court. As well as the civil code, and govt code. Nowhere in it does it say claims MUST ONLY be one page in length. When I went back with the rule books, I asked the court clerk manager to show where exactly it says that it must be one page. She took a step back, put her hands in the air and said "Im not showing you anything in that book". 

 

Then I asker her, "What if I was an illiterate farmer who writes in crayon, would the court refuse to file my claim if I've been damaged and prevent me from my remedy? She went silent

 

I've been reading about cases in Ca where clerks have been getting in trouble for refusing to file peoples documents. One judge said that it's NOT the clerks job to refuse a document even if it IS wrong, but they should merely inform the person that it should be corrected. From what I've been reading, if a clerk refuses to file a document, they are then making a legal determination, which is illegal unless the person is licensed to practice law.

 

She is keeping me from getting my remedy because my claim is 2 pages instead of 1. How is this justified? What if I were a poor farmer, and my handwriting was extremely large to due my poor education, and I wrote in pencil, and I needed 2 pages instead of one to explain my claim?

In the rules it says that a claim or complaint does NOT HAVE to be in certain format ect. As long as it makes reasonable sense. So it CAN be handwritten in pencil on notebook paper, IF thats what a person has available. 

 

Regardless of all that, what if it just takes more than one page to tell the story? How is this not interfering with due process? 

 

Also, last month I filed a 2 page claim that they took with no problem, and I won the trial last week. So I already had a 2 page claim get ruled in my favor with no problem. Now there is a problem

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I am not going to address imaginary hypothetical what if scenarios.  It is non-productive and wastes time.

 

If you suspect it is that clerk simply go back and file with a different clerk.  It isn't rocket science.  If you can't do that then ask for a supervisor.

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Actually it would be productive for me if you would address the hypothetical issues. At least I would have answers to those questions, as now they are still actual questions I don't have the answer to.

 

It was 2 clerks and their manager that denied the filing, so re-filing isn't really an option.

 

Im filing in small claims because I don't want to wait 2 yrs for a TCPA case to be resolved. My experiences in small claims have all been 40 days or less start to finish.

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Answering hypothetical questions is a waste of time.

I see three options. A. Conform your filling to what the clerks want; B. figure a way to make the clerks want to do what all of them have made it clear they do not want to do or; C. find a different means to your desired end.

You seem to be stuck on B. I'd be looking more into A. and C. since I usually experience trying to change other people as an exercise in futility.

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Kaz,

I will answer your hypo, I assume this is what your are refering to:

Then I asker her, "What if I was an illiterate farmer who writes in crayon, would the court refuse to file my claim if I've been damaged and prevent me from my remedy? She went silent

First your hypo is an oxymoron the defintion of illiterate is as follows:

il·lit·er·ate/i(l)ˈlitərit/

adjective

unable to read or write.

noun

a person who is unable to read or write.

So your farmer would not need more than 2 pages, because you farmer wouldn't know what to do with them.

Your farmer might be rather smart even though he is illiterate. He would likely find someone to create the document for him. He might also and likely be a good judge of a situation, and when questioned about the length of his filing, I am sure he wouldn't make some smart arse remark about some illiterate farmer. Which of course was a sarcastic attempt to put the clerk of the court in her place that she doesn't know her job.

The farmer would not then foolishly, drag another clerk over and think that the second clerk is going to tell the first clerk how stupid she was for not taking the illiterate farmers 2 page filing.

And to make sure that the farmer doesn't become the PIA that everyone talks about for the next month. The farmer doesn't insist that the supervisor comes and tells both clerks that you are wrong, this fine illiterate framer has every right to due process, so you gals apologize and take his filing.

The point is you should never piss off the clerks, they are the gate keepers to your filing. Even if you know they are wrong about something. Your conversation should have gone somehting like this:

"Thank you I didn't realize that I was allowed only 1 page. Let me see if I can fix it."

Then you check your rules to make sure you are on firm ground. Then you reach out via phone or email to the supervisor explaining your situation and asking if there is some rule that is not listed, or that may have been set by the Superior Court Judge that controls the small claims division of the court.

Now you are in a pickle, because you have alienated 2 clerks and a supervisor on a simple small claims case. In the spirit of the farmer hypothetical, you may need to eat some crow and apologize to the supervisor and see if there is something you are missing in the rules or procedures for your local small claims court....

Best of Luck  

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I guess Im the only one thats not afraid to upset clerks or judges. They are there to serve the public, period. I will not "conform" to what they want. If it's not expressly stated in the rules, they can forget it. Im not interested in their opinions. 

 

I don't believe I've put myself in any bad positions with the clerks. What are they gonna do, refuse to file anything for me? 

 

Has anyone done a search about clerks getting in big trouble for rejecting people's filings? It may be of interest

 

I'll apologize to the supervisor when she gives me something in writing....which she already said she won't do.

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I guess Im the only one thats not afraid to upset clerks or judges. They are there to serve the public, period.  If it's not expressly stated in the rules, they can forget it. Im not interested in their opinions. 

 

I don't believe I've put myself in any bad positions with the clerks. What are they gonna do, refuse to file anything for me? 

 

Apparently YES, because they DID refuse to file it and you are on here whining about it.

 

Has anyone done a search about clerks getting in big trouble for rejecting people's filings? It may be of interest

 

No because it is your circus and your monkeys.  I have NO interest in chasing your fantasy of toppling the court system.  You GROSSLY over estimate what "big trouble" is for a civil servant who can't be fired and has union backing.

 

I will not "conform" to what they want. 

 

Feel free to die on the sword if you want in order to take a stand but I would not count on your case getting on the docket anytime soon if you do take this stand.

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§1.27 IV. RESPONDING TO CLERK’S REFUSAL

TO FILE

If a court clerk has rejected a paper submitted for filing, asserting

that it does not comply with court rules, the wisest course in most

situations is to redraft the paper. This is true even when the clerk’s

objection to filing the paper seems overly technical or a

misinterpretation of the applicable rule or when counsel believes the

court’s local requirements conflict with provisions of the California

Rules of Court. See Cal Rules of Court 981.1 (Judicial Council rules

of court preempt local rules relating to form and format of papers and

other specified matters), discussed in §1.2. See also Cal Rules of Ct

982(a)(5) (court may not alter Judicial Council form and require its

use as altered), 982(d)(2) (court clerk may not reject Judicial Council

form because it, e.g., lacks preprinted title or address of court or is

printed by publisher or another court), discussed in §1.25. See also

Carlson v State Dep’t of Fish & Game (1998) 68 CA4th 1268, 80

CR2d 601 (superior court clerk may not reject complaint that complies

with state requirements on ground that it does not comply with local

rules).

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@kazmire

 

Can you just fill out a small claims form?

http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/sc100

 

@kazmire

 

Can you just fill out a small claims form?

http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/sc100.pdf

How about contacting a court advisor?

http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-advisors.htm

 

If you look at the bottom of p. 2-5 of SC-100, it says if you need more space attach ONE sheet of paper.

.pdf   I

How about contacting a court advisor?

http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-advisors.htm

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I guess Im the only one thats not afraid to upset clerks or judges. They are there to serve the public, period. I will not "conform" to what they want. If it's not expressly stated in the rules, they can forget it. Im not interested in their opinions. 

 

I don't believe I've put myself in any bad positions with the clerks. What are they gonna do, refuse to file anything for me? 

 

Has anyone done a search about clerks getting in big trouble for rejecting people's filings? It may be of interest

 

I'll apologize to the supervisor when she gives me something in writing....which she already said she won't do.

 

Good luck to you....

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The problem here is you really do not have any recourse in a civil care if a clerk refuses your filings. Even the state realizes that and says to just redraft the papers, even if you are in the right. The Court Clerks are the gate keepers and pissing them off does not help you in the long run because at some point you will need their help and then, they will do everything they legally can to thwart you.

There have been issues in California where clerks have refused to accept not-guilty pleas and requests for trial for traffic tickets saying that the court does not hold cases for traffic tickets and the only thing the defendant can do is pay the fine. In a case like that, there is probably recourse in the federal courts because this has due process issues written all over it. Even there though, you politely ask the clerk to sign that they refused your document and whether they do or don't, you go on your way. You can email the supervisor and if not satisfied there, you can decide if you want the expense of a federal trial.

What I have to ask though is, what is it with people wanting to piss off court clerks? I was reading on a genealogist board about a person threatening to force a clerk to allow them to use a handheld scanner. In this case, they had a ruling from the AGs office that they could do so. My comment to them was, if they do follow that path, they had better hope that they do not need a document from that clerk where the only access is through the clerk because again, the clerk will thwart their attempts.

You can decide how you want to handle this. Just remember, the clerks have a ton of control on how your case is handled in the court. Better hope a important document does not get "lost".

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I guess Im the only one thats not afraid to upset clerks or judges. They are there to serve the public, period. I will not "conform" to what they want. If it's not expressly stated in the rules, they can forget it. Im not interested in their opinions. 

 

I don't believe I've put myself in any bad positions with the clerks. What are they gonna do, refuse to file anything for me? 

 

Has anyone done a search about clerks getting in big trouble for rejecting people's filings? It may be of interest

 

I'll apologize to the supervisor when she gives me something in writing....which she already said she won't do.

I'm assuming you're doing this PRO SE. If so, you need to learn the rules of Court and bring the rules and YOU show the clerk/clerk manager that they are in the wrong and you're in the right. As PRO SE,  you can't expect anyone in the Courts to do your research that is why lawyers and judges have their own research team so since you are representing yourself you need to act  like you know what you're doing and prove it to the clerk. Everyone on here on this board has given you sound advice so best wishes on your adventure.

 

And as far as your question with "Has anyone done a search about clerks getting in big trouble for rejecting people's filing?" Yes and the clerks are still there,  doing their jobs. You're a PRO SE and they're the Court CLERKS do I have to say anymore?

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The other problem you face filing an TCPA case in small claims court is they can either remove the case to regular court or they will more likely remove to Federal court to make your case more difficult.

 

Best case in you win in small claims court, they can get a Trial De Novo in regular court, which still means you start all over again.  Either way it does not end quick.

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I guess Im the only one thats not afraid to upset clerks or judges. They are there to serve the public, period. I will not "conform" to what they want. If it's not expressly stated in the rules, they can forget it. Im not interested in their opinions. 

 

I don't believe I've put myself in any bad positions with the clerks. What are they gonna do, refuse to file anything for me? 

 

Has anyone done a search about clerks getting in big trouble for rejecting people's filings? It may be of interest

 

I'll apologize to the supervisor when she gives me something in writing....which she already said she won't do.

 

Here's a bit of insight into "clerks".  (This goes for MOST public facing gov't employees who do customer service stuff).  They are civil service employees.  Sometimes at-will hires, sometimes union.  Either way, their job sucks.  They have judges, politicians, bailiffs all "better" than them constantly riding their a$$ and making their job harder.  They get no "benefits" like private sector jobs, so no morale building things because that's a negative use of "public funding".  Then they have more dickhead attorneys, pro-se, politicians, etc. coming to the OTHER side of the counter and of coure are "better" than them.  They have to deal with the angry, power-mad, abusive, smug, snide, rude, and just about every other personality that most of us would love to avoid encountering.  Of course, instead of dealing with the rules established or speaking with ANYONE that has the authority or ability to change or excuse the rules, people want to shoot the messenger.  Like a court clerk can do anything about it.

 

All the while these are the people that hold everything together.  What looks beautifully crafted and organized is really a circus act held together with frayed rope and duct tape constantly being "bandaged" by these clerks.

 

Then to make them even more enthusiastic, they get to take home very meager salaries for having to deal with these people.  In Oklahoma, expect about $18-20K / year starting salary for these people.  So please, next time you decide you want to piss in someone's Cheerios, place yourself on the other side of that counter and imagine that YOUR behavior is what they deal with dozens of times a DAY.

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and I have to add, these people who deal with this stuff day in and day out are the gatekeepers. Their only power is decide who gets by the gate and who does not. Treat them nicely and with respect and they might let you pass the gate even if you are not allowed. Piss them off and they will use every bit of power they have to stop you and/or make it as hard for you as possible to pass the gate.

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Then they have more dickhead attorneys, pro-se, politicians, etc. coming to the OTHER side of the counter and of coure are "better" than them.  They have to deal with the angry, power-mad, abusive, smug, snide, rude, and just about every other personality that most of us would love to avoid encountering.  Of course, instead of dealing with the rules established or speaking with ANYONE that has the authority or ability to change or excuse the rules, people want to shoot the messenger.  Like a court clerk can do anything about it.

You stopped short of a very important point.  While attorneys and politicians have their backdoor methods for getting something done about a clerk's refusal to follow the rules, pro ses are at a severe disadvantage in this regard.  You can bet if we cross a clerk that thinks he/she has some hash to settle, they will certainly do it on a pro se.

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