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Small Claims

Small Claims

Overview

Small Claims Court is a special type of civil proceeding which is commonly referred to as the "People's Court" because attorneys are not allowed to represent either side. The rules are relatively simple and the hearings are less formal. Parties in small claims actions can resolve their disputes relatively quickly and inexpensively. The person who files the claim is called the plaintiff and the person being sued is called the defendant.

Plaintiffs filing in Small Claims Court cannot seek judgments of more than $12,500 for individuals and $6,250 for businesses. An individual who owns a business (e.g. sole proprietor) and does business under a fictitious business name is considered to be an "individual" in Small Claims Court. For example, a plumber doing business as ABC Plumbing who wants to sue a customer who has not paid for services may file a claim for up to $12,500 with certain exceptions. If a business is a corporation, partnership or any other type of entity than a sole proprietorship, the maximum claim amount in Small Claims Court cannot exceed $6,250.

California law states that plaintiffs may file as many claims as they like for up to $2,500 each calendar year. However, plaintiffs can only file two claims in a calendar year that seek more than $2,500 per claim.

Please note: Filing a small claim in this Court may be done in person, by mail, or electronically through the eDelivery portal.

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