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Santa Monica Small Claims - Santa Monica, CA

Courthouse in Los Angeles County, CA

Last updated at 2022-05-18T21:15:53.893Z

Important information

Courthouse info


1725 Main Street, Santa Monica CA 90401

Hours of operation

The Santa Monica courthouse is open Monday through Friday from 8 am - 4:30 pm. The clerk’s office is also open Monday through Friday, but from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Court fees

Up to $100

Contact info

Mailing Address

1725 Main Street, Rm 224, Santa Monica CA 90401

General info

Court website

Filing info

Average days to process

2-10 business days

Small claims info

Small claims website

Small claims court is a venue for lawsuits with $10,000 or less claims. Small claims court operates under more straightforward rules than traditional court, and no one has a lawyer representing them.

Small claims court cases usually proceed faster than in regular court. Case examples include contract disputes, property damage, and homeowner association (HOA) disputes.

Visiting the Courthouse

The clerk's office strongly suggests that all visitors book an appointment before arriving at the courthouse. The clerk's office also has a dropbox available at the courthouse for document submissions.

Uses for Santa Monica Small Claims Court

The primary use for small claims court is for individuals to settle monetary disputes of $10,000 or less. Businesses can sue for up to $5,000 in small claims. People choose small claims court because they don't pay lawyer fees and only pay for filing fees based on the total amount of the claim.

What Other Cases Does the Santa Monica Courthouse Hear?

In addition to Small Claims Court, the Santa Monica Courthouse also provides venues for civil cases, family court cases, and traffic cases.

Alternative Locations for Santa Monica Small Claims Court

If you live far from the Santa Monica Courthouse, Los Angeles County offers several other locations for small claims cases. Other small claims courts throughout the county include the Bellflower Courthouse, Chatsworth Courthouse, Compton Courthouse, and Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse.

Additional locations include the Inglewood Courthouse, the Michael D. Antonovich Antelope Valley Courthouse, the Pasadena Courthouse, the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, the Van Nuys Courthouse, and the West Covina Courthouse.

Suppose you choose to file in another venue. In that case, the closest alternative courthouses to Santa Monica are the Inglewood Courthouse, the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Downtown Los Angeles, and the Compton Courthouse.

What Types of Cases Can You File at the Santa Monica Small Claims Court?

For claims of $10,000 or less, cases may include personal injury, property damage, libel, false arrest claims, counterclaims, and others.

How Does It Take to File a Case?

When filing a small claims case in Santa Monica, the judge typically hears the case within 30 to 40 days after filing. You should expect a case to take two to three months, from start to finish. Small claims court differs significantly from the regular civil court, where lawsuits may remain active for years.

What is the Maximum I Can Sue for in Small Claims Court?

The limit in small claims court is $10,000.

What Do I Have to Pay for in Small Claims Court?

To file a small claims case, you'll pay a fee that depends on the amount requested in the suit.

  • For cases up to $1,500, the filing fee is $30.
  • Cases greater than $1,500 but less than $5,000, pay a filing fee of $50.
  • Cases over $5,000 pay a filing fee of $75.

Some judges will waive these fees when you cannot reasonably pay.

What to Expect for Small Claims Court Hearings

The most crucial part of winning a small claims court case is time. Filing documents on time, arriving at court on time, and responding to everything asked of you on time. Additionally, you must organize your papers well and bring extra copies for the judge, the other party, and witnesses. Don't waste the court's time with disorganization.

When you arrive for a case at small claims, you'll sit in a courtroom alongside many other people with cases on that day's schedule. You'll wait until the judge calls your case. At that time, you'll present evidence to the judge. Address the judge with your arguments rather than the opposing party.

How to Prepare for Small Claims Court

A winning case is a highly organized case, and you'll fare best in small claims court when you pay attention to every detail in your documents and schedule. You may find it helpful to practice what you want to say to the judge and talk to any witnesses you want to call before your court date.

FAQs & Notes About Small Claims Court

Common questions about small claims.

Can I ask a lawyer for advice on my small claims case?

Yes, but the lawyer will probably bill you for their time. The lawyer cannot represent you in court.

But a lawyer is not the only option when looking for help with small claims. Online filing services offer personalized help and guidance in the filing process. They are also significantly cheaper than lawyers.

How long do I have to file a small claims case?

You usually have two to four years to file a claim against a non-government entity in small claims court. The State of California lists its statutes of limitations on its official website.

Can I file my small claims case in another state? If the opposing party does business or resides in California, you should file in California.

Helpful to know

Judge info

The small claims court judge is the Honorable Lisa K. Sepe-Wiesenfeld. Judge Sepe-Wiesenfeld was elected to the California bar in 1985. She received her B.A. from UCLA and law degree from Pepperdine School of Law. Judge Sepe-Wiesenfeld began as a law firm senior associate in 1986, before becoming a Managing attorney at Coast National Insurance and Farmers Insurance Group. In 2015, Hon. Sepe-Wiesenfled was elected as a judge to the Superior Court of Los Angeles.

Parking info

The best places to park nearby include the Civic Center Parking Structure and the Lot 1 South Short Term Parking. See here for more close parking options and cost. There are also beach and pier parking lots available, however, these are less advised.

Busiest time

The busiest times of day at the Santa Monica Courthouse are is from 9 am to 10 am, and 1 pm to 2 pm.

Transit direction

The best way to get to the Santa Monica courthouse is via the Big Blue Bus. The bus stop closest to the courthouse is Main NB; Civic Auditorium, located here. In the greater Los Angeles county area, the Culver City Bus and Metro offer routes that connect with the Big Blue Bus.

Driving direction

The Santa Monica court is in the downtown area of the city, near the Santa Monica pier. Santa Monica courthouse’s Small Claims division is on the 2nd floor in Room 224. Upon entering the courthouse, take the stairs or elevator up. Security will direct you to the correct room.

Food nearby

Starbucks is located just across the street (a one-minute walk) from the Santa Monica courthouse. For a quick bite, head to the close by McDonalds, RAKKEN Ramen, or The Gallery Food Hall.

Other courthouses in Los Angeles County

George Deukmejian Courthouse Small Claims - Long Beach, CA

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