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    Small Claims

    A case may be filed in Small Claims if the amount being sought is $5,000 or less; $10,000 or less for "natural persons" (CCP §116.221).   Only two cases above $2,500 may be filed each year (CCP §116.231).   An attorney is not allowed to represent you in court. Resources for learning to present your own case are noted below.


    Small Claims Court Clerk Information

    Telephone Number:
    Ukiah:  (707) 468-2002
    Fort Bragg:  (707) 964-3192

    Court Clerk's Office Hours:
    8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday - Friday

    Telephone Hours:
    8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday - Friday

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    Jurisdiction

    Code of Civil Procedure Section 116.220 states what actions can be filed in small claims court.

    One or more of the following statements must be true in order to file your small claims action in Mendocino County:

    A defendant lives in this judicial district, or if the defendant is a business that has its principal place of business in this judicial district.

    A person was injured or personal property was damaged in this judicial district.

    A defendant signed or entered into a contract in this judicial district, a defendant lived in this judicial district when the contract was entered into, a contract or obligation was to be performed in this judicial district, or if the defendant is a corporation, the contract was breached in this judicial district.

    ■ When a signed contract is involved see CCP §395(B), CCP §1812.10, and CCP §2984.4

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    Forms and Filing

    A forms packet, "Information for the Small Claims Plaintiff", complete with Claim Form, is available from the court clerk's office.

    Other Small Claims forms are available from the court clerk, the Law Library or the Judicial Council website. 

    All paperwork must be typewritten or neatly written in black ink. There are typewriters available for public use at the Public Library at 105 N. Main St, Ukiah or the Law Library in the Ukiah courthouse, Room 307.

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    Small Claims Mediation

    Mediation gives you the opportunity to reach your own agreement, rather than having the Court decide the outcome for you.  The Court in Ukiah will direct you to Mediation at the commencement of your hearing.  If a resolution is not reached you will be directed back to the courtroom for commencement of the trial. 

    Mediation is:

    Results Oriented – A qualified impartial mediator will facilitate communication with parties in conflict so they can reach their own workable solutions.

    Time Saving - Results reached in mediation are typically quicker than can be achieved in litigation.

    Cost Effective – There is no fee to the parties for the first two hours. After the first two hours, if the parties choose to continue the mediation, the mediator may charge his or her hourly rate.

    Confidential - Communications during your mediation are protected by California Evidence Code sections 1115 to 1128 as confidential and not admissible as evidence in court. Any agreement reached in mediation, however, will be admissible and treated as enforceable by the Court.

    Easy to schedule - If your matter has been scheduled for a court appearance on a Friday morning in Ukiah, the judicial officer hearing your matter will automatically assign a mediator to your case the morning of your hearing.  If you would like to seek mediation prior to your hearing, you can consult your local phone book, under "Mediation Services" and arrange for mediation.

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    Mendocino Dispute Resolution Services (MENDRS)

    For information on how you can settle your dispute before you file call 707-462-7265.

    Mendocino Dispute Resolution Services

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    Fees

    The Filing Fee is based on the amount of the claim:

    - Up to $1,500, the fee is $30.00
    - $1,500.01 to $5,000.00, the fee is $50.00
    - $5,000.01 to 10,000.00, the fee is $75.00

    If you have filed more than 12 claims in the past year, the filing fee is $100.00 per claim.

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    Service of Documents

    The date and time of the small claims hearing is set when the plaintiff files the small claims case.  It is the plaintiff's responsibility to serve the defendant with the Plaintiff's Claim and Order to Go to Small Claims Court that includes this court date. 

    Effective September 1, 2009, the option of service of the claim by return receipt (certified mail) will no longer be provided.

    If the other party does not agree with the date and time set, they will need to file a Request to Postpone Small Claims Hearing (Judicial Council form SC-110) and an Order on Request to Postpone Small Claims Hearings (SC-111) to continue the matter, along with a $10.00 filing fee.  

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    Postponing your Hearing

    If the defendant has been served, either party can file with the Court a Request to Postpone Small Claims Hearing (Judicial Council form SC-150) and submit an Order on Request to Postpone Small Claims Hearings (SC-152), along with a $10.00 filing fee at least 10 days before the hearing.  Click on the form name to open the form.  These and other Judicial Council forms are available at www.courts.ca.gov/forms.

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    Small Claims Advisor and Other Assistance

    If you need legal assistance and/or have questions about filing your claim, contact the Small Claims Division 24 hours a day for pre-recorded information at (707) 468-2002

    See the Law Library for reference books about Small Claims. Open to the public in the Ukiah courthouse, resources are available for all levels of legal research.

    See California Small Claims Courts Information Center for on-line resources, including the following:
    - Detailed Information
    - How to research your case
    - How to collect on a judgment

    The California State Department of Consumer Affairs offers small claims information on their website.

    Corporation records:  http://kepler.ss.ca.gov/list.html

    Fictitious Business Names:  http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/acr/FBN.htm

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    Night Court

    Night Court for Small Claims cases is held at 5:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month in Ukiah. 

    Parties must use the Perkins Street entrance of the Ukiah Courthouse after 4:30 p.m.  The Perkins Street entrance will be locked at 5:30 p.m.  Please arrive 5 to 10 minutes early. 

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    Small Claims Calendar

    Visit our On-Line Court Calendar page for information on hearings set for the next 30 days.

    Calendar times and places are subject to change at any time. On the day of the hearing, check the calendars posted on the calendar bulletin board for that day's court assignments. 

    The Court organizes and groups similar types of hearings together for efficiency.  The Calendar Plan lists the specific times and courtrooms that hearings are held.

    Calendar Plan


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© 2005 Superior Court of Mendocino County    All rights reserved      Last Updated: January 18, 2013