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Small Claims

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BUSINESS
June 27, 2011 | By Cyndia Zwahlen, Los Angeles Times
Even a small business can have its day in court. In Small Claims Court, that is. Every weekday the dockets of the 25 Los Angeles County Superior Court branches that hear small-claims cases are filled with lawsuits filed by small-business owners and other individuals seeking relatively small amounts of money. For small businesses, the money could be due from a client who won't pay, a supplier who didn't deliver, or a vendor who is disputing a bill. The process is lawyer-free and designed to be cheaper, faster and easier than battling in a regular civil court.
ARTICLES BY DATE
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
January 26, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Honda Civic owners from Sacramento to Carlsbad, Calif., took off from work to attend an unusual Small Claims Court case in Torrance, where a lone consumer has sued American Honda Motor Co. over fuel economy claims. The hearing Wednesday represented round two of a case that has garnered national attention pitting Honda Civic hybrid owner Heather Peters against the automotive giant. Los Angeles County Superior Court Commissioner Douglas Carnahan heard testimony from Peters and Honda.
OPINION
November 19, 2013 | By Richard M. Mosk
Even if Iran ultimately agrees to limitations on its nuclear program, will its leaders comply with the terms? After all, the Iranians have been less than candid over the years. They have railed against the United States and its allies, and they have fomented terrorism. Nevertheless, history demonstrates that, subject to sufficient leverage, Iran can come to an agreement and comply with it. Since the Nov. 4, 1979, takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the taking of American hostages there, the United States and Iran have had contacts and made arrangements that both sides have complied with.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 9, 2004 | Randy Lewis, Times Staff Writer
Along with renters fighting landlords over security deposits and motorists seeking restitution for botched brake jobs, small claims court in Santa Monica on Tuesday will become an unlikely playing field in the battle over unauthorized distribution of music. Singer-songwriter Sophie B.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 28, 1992
The Small Claims Court of the North County Municipal Court will relocate to Escondido on Monday, freeing up the courtroom it had used in San Marcos for use as a second traffic court, officials said Thursday. The Small Claims Court, where disputes of claims of $5,000 or less are argued directly by the parties without benefit of attorneys, will operate out of the Escondido branch of the Municipal Court, 600 E. Valley Parkway. The Small Claims commissioner is Tony Brandenburg.
NEWS
June 4, 1987 | JEFFREY S. KLEIN
There is an effort under way in Sacramento to make the people's court a richer place to visit. A state assemblyman has introduced a bill to increase the amount you can win in small claims court. The current limit is $1,500, while the amended bill increases the cap to $2,500. And thanks to Judge Joseph A.
NEWS
October 13, 1988 | JEFFREY S. KLEIN
Small claims court is meant to be an informal, inexpensive and expeditious way of resolving disputes. And even though you have the right to appeal a small claims decision if you are sued and lose, the appeal does not include the right to a jury trial, according to a decision this summer by the California Supreme Court. The plaintiff in a small claims suit, the person who files the action, does not have a right to appeal.
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
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
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
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
May 9, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch
American Honda Motor Co. has won a reversal of a high-profile small-claims case that would have forced the automaker to pay a Los Angeles woman nearly $10,000 for overstating the fuel-economy claims on the Honda Civic hybrid. Superior Court Judge Dudley W. Gray II ruled Tuesday that the automaker was within its rights to advertise the Environmental Protection Agency-derived fuel-economy ratings for the vehicle. "Federal regulations control the fuel economy ratings posted on vehicles and advertising claims related to those fuel economy ratings," Gray wrote in the ruling.
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.
NEWS
August 7, 1986 | JEFFREY S. KLEIN
If you're being sued, there is at least one advantage to being sued in Small Claims Court: You don't have to hire an attorney to represent you. If you are sued in Municipal or Superior Court, you may not even be able to understand the complaint against you without a lawyer, but in Small Claims Court things are much simpler.
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.
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.
BUSINESS
January 26, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Honda Civic owners from Sacramento to Carlsbad, Calif., took off from work to attend an unusual Small Claims Court case in Torrance, where a lone consumer has sued American Honda Motor Co. over fuel economy claims. The hearing Wednesday represented round two of a case that has garnered national attention pitting Honda Civic hybrid owner Heather Peters against the automotive giant. Los Angeles County Superior Court Commissioner Douglas Carnahan heard testimony from Peters and Honda.
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