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How to find the right courthouse for your small claims case

Updated February 23rd 2022

5 min read

Knowing where to file can be tough. Although you may be tempted to choose the courthouse closest to you, your case may not be accepted there.

How to find the right courthouse for your small claims case

How to find the right courthouse for your small claims case

author

Thomas C.

Author


Table of contents

Section 5 on page 3 of SC-100 tells you how the courthouse decides that your case will be accepted there. There may be multiple courthouses that will accept your case. The “right” court location may be a small claims courthouse that covers the area...

  • Option A - Where the person you are suing (defendant) lives or where the business involved is located
  • Option B - Where the damage or accident happened
  • Option C - Where the contract was signed or carried out
  • Option D - If the defendant is a corporation, where the contract was signed or broken
  • Option F - For a retail installment account (like your credit card) or sales contract (like your cable TV contract) or a motor vehicle finance sale (like your car insurance):

Where the buyer lives

Where the buyer lived when the contract was entered into

Where the buyer lived when the contract was entered into

Where the buyer lived when the contract was entered into

Where the buyer signed the contract

Where the goods or vehicle are permanently kept

Here’s an example:

John decided to move out of his apartment. After he found another place and signed a new lease, he notified his landlord. John could tell the landlord wasn’t happy. John had been a great tenant, though, and expected to get all of his security deposit back. There was no damage to the apartment other than normal wear and tear.

A few weeks after he moved out, the landlord said that he had to bring in professional cleaners and withheld all of John’s $1000 security deposit.

John is now filing a small claims suit against his landlord and needs to select a courthouse location. His landlord is not a corporation and this case does not involve a credit card, cable contract , or car insurance, so he rules out Option D and F from the above list. John has 3 options - he can pick a small claims courthouse that covers the area where...

Option A - Where the person you are suing lives or where the business involved is located -> This means John will file to the courthouse that covers where his old landlord lives.

Option B - Where the damage or accident happened -> This means John will file to the courthouse that covers where his old apartment is.

Option C - Where the contract was signed or carried out -> This means John will file to the courthouse that covers where his old lease was signed.

A rule of thumb is to file at the Small Claims courthouse that covers the area where the person or organization you are suing currently resides. Look up the county they live in and take note of their zip code.

Once you have the zip code and the county of the person or organization you are suing, use these online tools to narrow down the right courts:

California’s Find Your Court tool

Los Angeles' Filing Court Locator tool

Table of contents

Section 5 on page 3 of SC-100 tells you how the courthouse decides that your case will be accepted there. There may be multiple courthouses that will accept your case. The “right” court location may be a small claims courthouse that covers the area...

  • Option A - Where the person you are suing (defendant) lives or where the business involved is located
  • Option B - Where the damage or accident happened
  • Option C - Where the contract was signed or carried out
  • Option D - If the defendant is a corporation, where the contract was signed or broken
  • Option F - For a retail installment account (like your credit card) or sales contract (like your cable TV contract) or a motor vehicle finance sale (like your car insurance):

Where the buyer lives

Where the buyer lived when the contract was entered into

Where the buyer lived when the contract was entered into

Where the buyer lived when the contract was entered into

Where the buyer signed the contract

Where the goods or vehicle are permanently kept

Here’s an example:

John decided to move out of his apartment. After he found another place and signed a new lease, he notified his landlord. John could tell the landlord wasn’t happy. John had been a great tenant, though, and expected to get all of his security deposit back. There was no damage to the apartment other than normal wear and tear.

A few weeks after he moved out, the landlord said that he had to bring in professional cleaners and withheld all of John’s $1000 security deposit.

John is now filing a small claims suit against his landlord and needs to select a courthouse location. His landlord is not a corporation and this case does not involve a credit card, cable contract , or car insurance, so he rules out Option D and F from the above list. John has 3 options - he can pick a small claims courthouse that covers the area where...

Option A - Where the person you are suing lives or where the business involved is located -> This means John will file to the courthouse that covers where his old landlord lives.

Option B - Where the damage or accident happened -> This means John will file to the courthouse that covers where his old apartment is.

Option C - Where the contract was signed or carried out -> This means John will file to the courthouse that covers where his old lease was signed.

A rule of thumb is to file at the Small Claims courthouse that covers the area where the person or organization you are suing currently resides. Look up the county they live in and take note of their zip code.

Once you have the zip code and the county of the person or organization you are suing, use these online tools to narrow down the right courts:

California’s Find Your Court tool

Los Angeles' Filing Court Locator tool

Get Dispute to file your small claims case online today. Win back the money you deserve.

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