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Small Claims Courts

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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.
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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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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.
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.
NEWS
July 6, 1990 | JOSEPH N. BELL
Two weeks ago, I had my first experience with Small Claims Court. And the reviews are mixed. My wife was given a bad check last January for some work she had done, and we've been trying to collect ever since. After exhausting all other avenues--including filing a fruitless Worthless Document Report with the Orange County Sheriff's Department--we sought restitution through Small Claims Court on May 2, and our case was heard in mid-June.
BUSINESS
April 7, 1991 | KATHY M. KRISTOF
There's no telling how much money Americans have lost in nickel-and-dime disputes. The dry cleaners might ruin a suit. A landlord might refuse to return a security deposit. A retailer might shortchange a customer or charge for a service never ordered. Often these problems are minor, costing individuals only a few dollars. But, at times, the losses can escalate into the hundreds--even thousands--of dollars. Still, many consumers are reluctant to battle for their lost funds.
NEWS
July 27, 1990 | Joseph N. Bell
I never know when one of these columns will touch an exposed nerve Out There. A recent description of the mostly negative experience my wife and I had in the Harbor District small claims court of Commissioner Richard Sullivan did just that. Emphatically and painfully. About two-thirds of the reactions--which came by both phone and mail--were from citizens with similar unhappy experiences in Harbor and other Orange County small claims courts.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 9, 1993 | SUSAN BYRNES
It was a typical day in Small Claims Court. A baby cried in the back row as dozens of participants waited for their cases to be called. Plaintiffs and defendants anticipated their opportunity to defend or decry unpaid loans, unreturned security deposits, unfinished work or outstanding bills. It was typical except for one thing: location. These small claims cases, from Van Nuys Municipal Court, were heard by Commissioner Kirkland Nyby on Wednesday at James Monroe High School.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 13, 2000 | SUE FOX, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The law was supposed to send gusts of fresh air billowing through the smoke-filled haze of California's bars and restaurants, consigning smokers to outdoor patios and parking lots. But 2 1/2 years after the statewide ban on workplace smoking took effect, the city of Los Angeles has not fined a single bar for violating the rule.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 13, 2000 | SUE FOX, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The law was supposed to send gusts of fresh air billowing through the smoke-filled haze of California's bars and restaurants, consigning smokers to outdoor patios and parking lots. But 2 1/2 years after the statewide ban on workplace smoking took effect, the city of Los Angeles has not fined a single bar for violating the rule.
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
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 4, 1994 | LEE ROMNEY, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The Municipal Court judge who ruled in favor of a group of Huntington Harbour residents against their neighbor explained Wednesday that the amount of his judgment was much higher than what a clerk had indicated. The residents were awarded $90,575, not $50,175 as the court clerk reported Tuesday to several news organizations, including The Times. Judge Corey S.
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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