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Small Claim Courts

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 1, 1998
Re "Full-Court Press on Small Claims Division," Feb. 21. Having been a claimant in the small claims court of Commissioner Martin Green, I'm afraid I have to take exception to reporter James Ricci's tribute. Even though I won a small victory in Division 114, I found Green to be a perfect example of judicial arrogance, a man with casual contempt for the law. If The Times finds Green praise-worthy, it's no wonder that most people regard the judicial system as a calamity beyond repair.
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BUSINESS
April 6, 2014 | By Donie Vanitzian
Question: Our manager refuses owner requests for documents, causing our association to be sued several times a year. Each time she comes to court as a defendant, she brings her so-called evidence and answers, "Your honor, see Exhibit X. " She overloads on exhibits, most of which are contrived for the purpose of that hearing. Her main strategy includes putting on big exhibit head notes supposedly explaining what each exhibit consists of, but when the exhibits are scrutinized and read, they have little or nothing to do with what is head-noted.
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BUSINESS
March 25, 2012 | By Scott J. Wilson, Los Angeles Times
If you have a dispute that can't be resolved, you may consider taking it to Small Claims Court, which is designed to be far cheaper and quicker than regular court. In this forum there are no attorneys or juries — you present your own case and the person you're suing gets the chance to tell his or her side of the story. Some key things to know: •How much can I ask for? The maximum amount an individual can sue for in Small Claims Court in California is $10,000. For businesses, the limit is $5,000.
BUSINESS
August 22, 2013 | By David Lazarus
Sharon traveled recently to Europe for a cruise. Unfortunately, her bags didn't keep pace. They were lost somewhere along the way by Brussels Airlines, and Sharon had to make do without luggage for the duration of her trip. She wants to know if she can sue a foreign airline in U.S. Small Claims Court. Good question. Small Claims Court is typically for matters falling under state jurisdiction, but it's not impossible to sue out-of-state entities. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions In this case, Sharon might find it challenging to go after Brussels Airlines.
BUSINESS
February 1, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch
The owner of a Honda Civic hybrid won an unusual Small Claims Court lawsuit against American Honda Motor Co. Los Angeles County Superior Court Commissioner Douglas Carnahan ruled that the giant automaker mislead Civic owner Heather Peters when it claimed that the hybrid could achieve as much as 50 miles per gallon. Peters said the Torrance Small Claims Court commissioner awarded her $9,867 in damages, very close to the maximum $10,000 allowed in Small Claims Court that the Los Angeles resident was seeking.
NEWS
May 11, 1989 | JEFFREY S. KLEIN
It doesn't have to take years of waiting and expensive legal fees to have your day in court. In fact, you don't even need a lawyer. You can have a legal dispute resolved within a few months by suing in small claims court. It will still take time and preparation, however. You can't expect to persuade a judge that you should be awarded $2,000 unless you're prepared to adequately explain the facts and legal theory that support your case. (The "jurisdictional" limit of small claims court is $2,000.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 23, 1996 | SCOTT HADLY
A local environmental organization has won a small claims judgment in its long-running dispute with the city of Moorpark over who gets what's left of a $64,000 state grant used to restore wetlands in the Arroyo Simi. The Environmental Coalition's Moorpark chapter was awarded $1,200 for work done more than two years ago in the arroyo, said Roseann Mikos, who managed the restoration project for the group.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 23, 1994 | ANNA CEKOLA
The county has won a $5,000 small claims judgment against the driver and the owners of a car that collided with Supervisor Harriett M. Wieder and caused significant damage to her county-owned Chrysler. Wieder said Tuesday that she feels "absolutely vindicated" by the judgment, the maximum a judge can award in a small claims action. "I've kind of taken a rap for something I've always taken pride in--that is being a good driver," she said.
NEWS
April 15, 2004 | From Associated Press
Singer-songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins won $324 in Small Claims Court for the early release of three advance copies of her latest CD. One promotional copy of "Wilderness" appeared on EBay for $300 in December, five months before it was to be released. Hawkins, best known for her 1992 hit "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover," told the Internet auction site to stop featuring the item, and it did. But the seller contacted buyers independently and sold two more copies, for $12 each.
NEWS
March 29, 1990 | JEFFREY S. KLEIN, Klein , an attorney and assistant to the publisher of The Times
Judges are not supposed to investigate disputes; they are authorized to hear the evidence that the parties present in the courtroom. They're not supposed to go to the scene of a crime to try to solve a mystery themselves nor are they supposed to consult their own experts about a case. But there is one exception to this general rule: In small claims court, judges are allowed to investigate facts. A judge can also consult expert witnesses to help decide a dispute.
BUSINESS
May 10, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
In a legal victory for Honda Motor Co., a judge has reversed a small-claims judgment that would have forced the automaker to pay a Civic hybrid owner nearly $10,000 for overstating the vehicle's fuel economy. But while the ruling ends a high-profile battle with hybrid owner Heather Peters, Honda still faces numerous legal fights in Small Claims Courts across the country. In an unusual move that garnered national attention, the Los Angeles woman rejected a class-action settlement that would have paid Civic hybrid owners as little as $100 to $200 each and rebates on a new Honda purchase.
BUSINESS
March 25, 2012 | By Scott J. Wilson, Los Angeles Times
If you have a dispute that can't be resolved, you may consider taking it to Small Claims Court, which is designed to be far cheaper and quicker than regular court. In this forum there are no attorneys or juries — you present your own case and the person you're suing gets the chance to tell his or her side of the story. Some key things to know: •How much can I ask for? The maximum amount an individual can sue for in Small Claims Court in California is $10,000. For businesses, the limit is $5,000.
BUSINESS
February 3, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Except for saying that it will appeal, American Honda Motor Co. has not talked about its loss in a high-profile Civic hybrid lawsuit this week over fuel economy claims. But Thursday evening, the automaker issued a statement on why it believes a Torrance Small Claims Court commissioner ruled in error when he awarded Civic owner Heather Peters $9,867.19 in damages. He ruled Wednesday that Honda negligently misled Peters when it claimed the hybrid could achieve as much as 50 miles per gallon.
BUSINESS
February 2, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
The owner of a Honda Civic hybrid won an unusual Small Claims Court lawsuit Wednesday against the auto giant that some legal experts believe could change strategies for both Small Claims Court and class-action litigation. A Los Angeles County court commissioner ruled that American Honda Motor Co. negligently misled Civic owner Heather Peters when it claimed the hybrid could achieve as much as 50 miles per gallon. Court Commissioner Douglas Carnahan, who mailed his 26-page decision to Peters and Honda, awarded her $9,867.19 in damages.
BUSINESS
February 1, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch
The owner of a Honda Civic hybrid won an unusual Small Claims Court lawsuit against American Honda Motor Co. Los Angeles County Superior Court Commissioner Douglas Carnahan ruled that the giant automaker mislead Civic owner Heather Peters when it claimed that the hybrid could achieve as much as 50 miles per gallon. Peters said the Torrance Small Claims Court commissioner awarded her $9,867 in damages, very close to the maximum $10,000 allowed in Small Claims Court that the Los Angeles resident was seeking.
TRAVEL
January 22, 2012 | By Catharine Hamm, Los Angeles Times Travel editor
Question: If I'm holding airline tickets for an upcoming Costa trip - the Concordia, which collided with rocks and ran aground on Jan. 13, was scheduled to sail again from Rome (Civitavecchia) on Jan. 20 - will Costa give me back my money? Answer: It should, but whether it will remains unclear. The issue for passengers on upcoming cruises is this: If they bought an air-sea package - that is, their cruise fare and airfare together - from Costa, they might have some recourse.
BUSINESS
January 4, 2012 | By Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times
It was Honda Motor Co. versus the little guy Tuesday, as a lone Civic hybrid owner faced off against the automaker in Small Claims Court in Torrance. Heather Peters, a 46-year-old Los Angeles resident, took the unusual tactic after learning of a proposed class-action lawsuit settlement that covered her 2006 vehicle. That settlement, over the Civic hybrid's worse-than-advertised fuel economy, would give trial lawyers $8.5 million while Civic hybrid owners would get as little as $100 and rebate coupons for the purchase of a new car. Peters opted out of the class action and instead filed suit in Small Claims Court, where California law prohibits defendants like Honda from bringing attorneys.
BUSINESS
August 7, 2011 | By Martin Eichner
Question: I moved out of an apartment more than three years ago. I knew that I didn't leave the place in perfect condition, but I figured I would call it even if my landlord kept my security deposit. Instead, I received a letter from him telling me that he was keeping my security deposit and that I owed him $800 for additional damage to the property. I thought that claim was totally unfair, so I didn't respond. Now, three years later, that landlord has served me with a Small Claims Court lawsuit for $1,000 in damages.
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