Claim Policy in California
When filing or defending any case in the small claims court in the county of Santa Clara in California, the individual is supposed to be of eighteen years of age. The individual is also supposed to be competent mentally and legally emancipated. These individuals may file the small claims action in case their claims are 7,500 dollars or less than that. On the other hand, the people who operate corporations, partnerships or any other entities except from the sole proprietorship, the extreme claim amount may not exceed 5,000 dollars (Superior Court of California, 2013).
In California, an individual is not eligible in filing more than two claims that exceed 2,500 dollars in small claims court in the course of any calendar year. This means that incase an individual files two claims of 4,000 dollars in a year, the other claims that have being filed in the same year are not supposed to exceed 2,500 dollars. The first step needed when filing the claims is preparing the case individually without the need of a lawyer (Superior Court of California, 2013). The attorney is not supposed to represent an individual in the small claims court. This case needs the person filing the case to prepare it individually. All the written documents on the case filed are supposed to be gathered and brought to the court on the hearing day. Extra copies of everything presented should be made.
According to Superior Court of California (2013), the correct forms are supposed to be collected from the Judicial Council’s website or a small claims court. The forms needed are the order to defendant and plaintiff’s claim (SC- 100). If it is a business that has a fictional business name, a Fictitious Name Declaration (SC-103) is supposed to be filed. The form is supposed to be filled, signed then filed. The county of Santa Clara has three courts where different claims may be filed. One needs to file the case in the correct court to avoid any dismissal of the case. The correct court is the court the person being sued is residing from or where his or her business is located.
The person being sued is supposed to be issued with a copy of the Order to defendant (SC- 100) and Plaintiff’s Claim. These copies are supposed to be served to the defendant before the date of hearing is set. It is the duty of the court clerk to serve the Order to Defendant and the Plaintiff’s Claim to the defendant. This is by either using restricted delivery or certified mail. On the other hand, if the plaintiff is not available, a person over the age of eighteen and has not been involved in the lawsuit can individually issue the defendant a copy of Order to Defendant and Plaintiff’s Claim (Superior Court of California, 2013).
As a final point, a proficient process server can serve these papers for a given fee. The plaintiff is supposed to file with the court the Proof of Service (SC-104) form and wait for a hearing date. The hearings are supposed to be attended to so that the judge may know what the case is all about. In case the defendant ha attorneys, this is not a disadvantage of the plaintiff because he or she is representing himself or herself. Participation by attorneys representing the defendant may be restricted. It is the Court Clerk duty to make sure that all parties involved have had a fair hearing.