Consider Small Claims Court in California

Disputes come in all shapes and sizes in California. The landlord tenant dispute over a security deposit, the disagreement over a verbal agreement over the sale of an auto and what was considered "AS IS"

In California disputes up to $10,000 can go before the small claims court of each county.

Its a simple process, no attorneys are allowed.

Some courts have mediators to act as neutral voices for the disputants.

One of those courts is Tuolumne County (Sonora, CA) who has had an active ADR mediation program. Mediations that are heard are not only small claims, but issues involving restraining orders or civil harassments'.

The program has been a huge success with settlement rates exceeding 80%.

Its a "Win Win" the parties feel heard and the results is they leave the court room happy and rarely return.

The courts have a heavy calendar and the value of mediation makes for a streamlined day.

Some courts have been cut back, due to state budgets.

When in a dispute, consider mediation early, and if you go to court, suggest to the court, and the other party that  mediation should be explored.

The Superior has a civil mediation panel with various experience from family law, real estate, litigation.

As this is being written, a new panel member is being considered who knows Indian Law and we

have many tribal members with our community of Sonora.

Having a dispute, consider Mediation early and consider "Small Claims" as an alternative to litigation.

Jim W Hildreth Mediator


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