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local civil rule 18

CIVIL RULE 18: SMALL CLAIMS ACTIONS

A. PROPER COURTHOUSE FOR FILING A SMALL CLAIMS ACTION

All small claims actions must be filed in the Downtown Superior Courthouse, Palo Alto Courthouse, or South County Courthouse, subject to the following rules:

(Eff. 7/01/11)

(1) MULTIPLE ACTIONS AGAINST SAME DEFENDANT

If the plaintiff files three or more separate actions against the same defendant at the same time, the actions must be filed in the Downtown Superior Courthouse.

(Eff. 7/01/11)

(2) DOWNTOWN SUPERIOR COURTHOUSE

A small claims action may be filed in the Downtown Superior Courthouse if the defendant resides at a Campbell, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, San Jose, Santa Clara, or Saratoga address; or the action concerns a contract entered into or to be performed in any of those cities; or the action concerns an injury or damage that occurred in any of those cities.

(Eff. 7/01/11)

(3) SOUTH COUNTY COURTHOUSE

A small claims action may be filed in the South County Courthouse if the defendant resides at a Gilroy, Morgan Hill, or San Martin address; or the action concerns a contract entered into or to be performed in any of those cities; or the action concerns an injury or damage that occurred in any of those cities.

(4) PALO ALTO COURTHOUSE

A small claims action may be filed in the Palo Alto Courthouse if the defendant resides at a Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, or Sunnyvale address; or the action concerns a contract entered into or to be performed in any of those cities; or the action concerns an injury or damage that occurred in any of those cities.

(5) DEFENDANT’S CROSS-CLAIM

A defendant’s cross-claim must be filed in the same courthouse where the small claims action was filed by the plaintiff.

B. FAX FILING IN SMALL CLAIMS CASES FILED AT THE DOWNTOWN SUPERIOR COURT

(1) DIRECT FILING

a. Pursuant to CRC 2.304, the Court accepts for filing all small claims documents submitted by facsimile transmission directly with the Court through the Court’s automated facsimile filing system. Only cases eligible for filing at the Downtown Superior Courthouse may be fax filed.

b. The Court’s facsimile machine is available 24 hours a day. Filings received after public business hours or on court holidays shall be deemed filed the next court business day.

c. The Court’s automated facsimile filing telephone number is (408) 882-2692 .

(2) PROCEDURE

a. Each document transmitted for fax filing with the court shall contain the phrase “By fax” immediately below the title of the document.

b. A party filing a document directly by fax must use the Judicial Council form, Facsimile Transmission Cover Sheet (Fax Filing) (form MC-005 ). The Court accepts MasterCard, Discover, and American Express credit cards for fax filings. The fax filing cover sheet, MC-005, also must include the cardholder’s zip code and the three-digit verification on the back of the credit card.

c. A facsimile usage fee of $0.50 cents per page, including the cover sheet, along with all applicable filing fees and credit card convenience fees, must be paid by credit card as requested on MC-005 .

d. Faxed documents must comply with all filing requirements otherwise listed in the State and Local Rules of Court. Compliance with filing requirements and proper transmission of the documents are the responsibility of the sending party.

(Eff. 7/01/11)

C. DATE, TIME, AND PLACE FOR HEARING

When the small claims action is filed, the court clerk will schedule the hearing according to the following rules:

(Eff. 7/01/07)

(1) MULTIPLE ACTIONS AGAINST THE SAME DEFENDANT

If the plaintiff filed three or more actions against the same defendant at the same time, the court clerk will schedule the hearing on Thursday morning at the Downtown Superior Court.

(Eff. 7/01/11)

(2) SAME COURTHOUSE

The clerk will schedule all other hearings in the same courthouse where the small claims action was filed unless the plaintiff requests a night court session.

(Eff. 7/01/07)

(3) NIGHT COURT SESSIONS

Night court sessions are held in the Santa Clara Courthouse at 6:00 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month, excluding Court holidays.

(Eff. 1/01/09)

(4) TRANSFER

For good cause shown, the defendant may request the Court to transfer the hearing to a different courthouse where small claims hearings are heard. At least 10 days before the hearing date, the defendant must file the request at the courthouse where the small claims action was filed and mail a copy of the request to each party to the action. If the Court finds that the interests of justice would be served by transferring the hearing to the courthouse requested by the defendant, the Court will mail a notice to all parties of the new date, time, and place for hearing.

(Eff. 7/01/07)

D. SERVICE OF CLAIMS

(1) PLAINTIFF’S CLAIM

The plaintiff must serve the Notice to Small Claims Litigants (see attached local form SC-8006) with the Plaintiff's Claim and Order to Go to Small Claims Court.

(Eff. 7/01/07)

(2) SERVICE BY CERTIFIED MAIL

Either party may pay the court a fee to have the court clerk serve their claim on the other party by certified mail, return receipt requested. Before the date set for hearing, the party requesting service may look in the court file to see whether the receipt for certified mail was signed by the other party and returned. Only the judicial officer or temporary judge makes the legal decision whether service was proper.

(Eff. 7/01/07)

(3) INABILITY TO SERVE DEFENDANT IN TIME

If the plaintiff is unable to serve the defendant in time, the plaintiff may request a later hearing date by going to the clerk's office at least one court day before the date set for the hearing.

(Eff. 7/01/07)

E. SETTLEMENT BEFORE HEARING

 A party who settles his or her claim before the date set for the hearing must notify the Court in writing at least one court day before the hearing. A party may do this by filing a Request for Dismissal. (See attached local form SC-8007 .)

(Eff. 7/1/07)

F. DISMISSAL FOR FAILURE TO APPEAR AT HEARING

If a party does not appear at the hearing, his or her claim will be dismissed, but if there is a claim against him or her, it will be heard.

(Eff. 7/01/07)

G. APPEAL

An appeal of a judgment rendered in a small claims action must be filed in the same courthouse where the action was filed. The appeal will be heard at the Downtown Superior Courthouse by a judicial officer other than the one who issued the judgment. The Court will notify the parties of the date, time, and place for the hearing on the appeal.

(Eff. 7/01/07)

 


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