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Small Claims Court Basics

Small Claims Courts are a great resource to handle small disputes between people or businesses without the technical formalities and expense of regular trial courts.

Generally, parties have a choice between using the Small Claims Courts procedures or the more formal procedures of the higher court that the Small Claims Court belongs to.

The key concept to remember is the right to a jury trial: in most states, a jury trial is not available in Small Claims Court. Initiating a lawsuit in Small Claims Court constitutes a plaintiff’s waiver of a jury trial.

There are also monetary limits to the size of the claim filed. Generally, in California the limit is $10,000.

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