Oct. 22, 2014

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small claims assistance

The Small Claims Advisor is available by telephone only Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. Telephone: (707) 253-4524

Free Small Claims Legal Advice with Legal Aid

Small Claims

Historic Courthouse

825 Brown Street, First Floor
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 299-1130
Filing hours: 8:00am to 4:00pm. Please arrive no later than 4:00pm to allow for processing.

Small Claims Basics

Monetary Limits for Small Claims Court: The amount in dispute may not exceed $10,000 for a natural person. If you are filing on behalf of a business the limit of your claim may not exceed $5,000. You may file as many claims as you wish for up to $2,500 in small claims court but are limited to 2 claims for up to $5,000 each calendar year. If you are suing a guarantor, you may sue for a maximum of $4,000 (or $2,500 if the guarantor does not charge for the service). A guarantor is one who promises to be responsible for the debt or default of another.

Hearings are typically heard on Thursdays at 1:30pm in Courtroom N.


Filing Fees

Claim is less than $1500
$30
Claim is more than $1500 but less than or equal to $5000
$50
Claim is more than $5000 but less than $10,000 *
$75
Filing more than 12 claims in 12 months
$100
Request for postponement of hearing
$10
Notice of Appeal
$75
Motions
$20
* Claim by natural persons only - not businesses

Frequently Asked Questions

Are attorneys present?

An attorney may not represent you in court, although you may consult one before or after you go to court.

How quickly will my case be heard?

If you and the person you are suing live within the same county, your case will be heard within 40 days of the date you filed your claim. If the person you are suing lives outside your county, your case will be heard within 70 days.

What are the typical types of cases heard?

Typical cases involve, but are not limited to; auto accidents, property damage, landlord/tenant disputes and the collection of personal debts.

What happens at the time hearing?

Your case will be heard by a commissioner. A commissioner has all the responsibilities and powers of a judge. Each party will have a chance to tell his or her side of the story. It’s important to bring evidence such as photos, witnesses, bills, receipts, contracts, or anything else that will prove your case. Please bring a copy of your evidence for the other party. The judge may decide the case at the time of the hearing or mail it to the parties later.

Can I appeal a decision?

Yes. If you are the plaintiff and you lose a claim you filed against the defendant, you may not appeal. However, occasionally, the defendant will file a claim against you and the hearing may be scheduled on the same day as your claim against the defendant. If you lose the claim the defendant filed against you, you may appeal that judgment. You may not appeal the decision on your own claim. If you appeared at the trial, you must begin your appeal by filing a form called a notice of appeal and pay the required fee within 30 days after the date the notice of entry of judgment was mailed to you. You will have a new trial and you must present your evidence again. You may be represented by a lawyer at the appeal hearing.

Service of the Claim

Service of the claim and order on the defendant shall be complete at least 15 days before the hearing date if the defendant resides within the county in which the action is filed, or at least 20 days before the hearing date if the defendant resides outside the county in which the action is filed.

Options for Service on the Defendant(s)

  • Court - $15 per Defendant/Address. This is sent by certified mail and the defendant is not required to accept certified mail.
  • Sheriff - $30 for each Defendant served in Napa County. Contact counties outside of Napa for requirements as to their county regarding service. Napa Sheriff's Department: (707) 253-4325
  • Private Process Server - Process servers are located in the phone book. The Court cannot recommend any specific server. The process server will provide a Proof of Service to you which you
  • Neutral Party - A friend, neutral party and a person not a party to the action may serve the claim. The person must be a U.S. citizen and over the age of 18.
  • Small Claims Calendar

    Small Claims Calendar

    2014:10:22:06:40:21

    © 2014 Napa County Superior Court