Thinking of filing a small claim lawsuit in West Covina small claims court or in Los Angeles County small claims court?
In this article, learn about:
- We have summarized how to file a small claims lawsuit in West Covina below.
- Common types of small claims lawsuits
- What to expect during a small claims hearing.
- Small Claims Court Limits
- How much going to small claims costs.
- Fun fact, lawyers are not allowed at the initial small claims hearing! This is to even the playing field so that each party has an equal chance of obtaining justice.
Address to the West Covina Small Claims Court
West Covina Courthouse
1427 West Covina Parkway
West Covina, CA 91790
How do I contact the Small Claims Court Clerk?
Need to contact the West Covina Small Claims Court Clerk? Here is how:
- The West Covina Small Claims Court Clerk is located on the 1st Floor of the Courthouse at 1427 West Covina Parkway, West Covina, CA 91790 in room 107.
- Clerk's Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- West Covina Small Claims Phone Number: (626) 430-2596
- Phone Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m - 3:30 p.m.
Can I file my Small Claims Lawsuit in West Covina Small Claims Court?
You can always sue an individual in a West Covina Small Claims Court if they live in West Covina or in Los Angeles County. You can always sue a business in West Covina small claims court if the business is located in West Covina or in Los Angeles County.
You may be able to sue in West Covina Small Claims in other situations. For example:
- If you are suing about a car accident that occurred in West Covina.
- If you are suing about property damage to your house that occurred in West Covina or Los Angeles County.
- If you have an issue with your Landlord returning the security deposit and the rented unit was in West Covina then you would be able to sue your landlord in West Covina Small Claims Court (you would also be able to sue your landlord in the small claims court in the county where they live).
If the defendant lives in the following cities/towns/areas then you can sue in West Covina Small Claims Court: Avocado Heights, Azusa, Baldwin Park, Bassett, Brea Heights, Charter Oak, Citrus, City of Industry, Claremont, Diamond Bar, El Encanto, El Monte, Falling Springs, Five Points, Glendora, Hacienda Heights, Irwindale, La Puente, La Verne, Norwood Village, Phillips Ranch, Pomona, Puente Hills, Rosemead, Rowland Heights, San Dimas, South San Jose Hills, Valinda, Vincent, Walnut, West Puente Valley, Westmont, White Saddle, Whittier Narrows, and Woodside Village.
However, some cities and areas may also be assigned to a different Los Angeles Small Claims Court. Make sure to search for a list of zip codes assigned to the West Covina Courthouse before filing your case.
What types of small claims cases can be filed?
So long as there isn't another court better suited to hear the case, then the lawsuit can be filed in small claims. The most common types of small claims cases in West Covina Small Claims Court are:
- Landlord/Tenant disputes over the security deposit.
- Landlord/Tenant disputes over unpaid rent.
- Roommate disputes.
- Disputes over loans.
- Contracts (written and verbal).
- Auto accidents.
- Disputes over auto repairs.
- Disputes over remodeling or home repairs (disputes with contractors).
- Damage caused to property.
- Unpaid bills.
Read More: How to sue a company in Los Angeles County Small Claims Court
How long do I have to File a Small Claims case in West Covina?
- Do not wait to file your small claims court lawsuit! After an incident occurs, you only have a set period of time to file your lawsuit. Think of this as a deadline (called the statute of limitations). Once the deadline is reached, you cannot file your West Covina Small Claims Court lawsuit.
- Read Common statutes of limitations for West Covina Small Claims Court.
How much can I sue for in West Covina Small Claims?
This is also known as the "small claims court limits." In West Covina or Los Angeles County Small Claims you can sue for the following maximum amounts:
What are the Los Angeles County Small Claims Court Filing Fees?
The amount you will pay to file a small claims lawsuit in West Covina depends on how much you are suing for. You will pay between $30 to $75 to file the lawsuit. If cannot afford to pay court fees, you can ask the court to waive the fees.
What are other costs for Small Claims Court?
In most small claims cases, you can expect to pay:
- Filing fees (see above) $30- $75
- Serving Costs can range from $0-$75 per person you sue.
If you win, you can request that the losing party pay for your court fees and serving costs.
West Covina Small Claims Court Hearings
When will the Small Claims Hearing be?
- Once a case is filed in West Covina Small Claims Court, the hearing will be scheduled within 30- 70 days.
- You must serve the small claims lawsuit on the defendant at least 15 days before the hearing if the defendant lives or resides within Los Angeles County. If the defendant resides outside of Los Angeles County, you must serve them at least 20 days before the hearing.
- Make sure to file "Proof of Service" at least 5 days before the hearing.
How to prepare for a Small Claims Court Hearing?
- Research the law. If you are unsure about your case, conduct research about the relevant laws that apply to your case or consult an attorney.
- Prepare your evidence. Invoices, contracts, receipts, etc. You want to have your evidence organized with titles, dates, and why that piece of evidence is important. All your evidence should be geared towards showing the judge why you are correct.
- Prepare what to say. During the hearing, the judge will ask the person suing why they are suing. The judge will then ask the person sued for their side of the story.
- Get your receipts for costs ready. For example, your filing fees and any serving costs. Make sure to let the judge know that you would like to be reimbursed for costs.
- Print enough copies of all your evidence. You will need at least three copies (one for you, one for the judge, one for the other side).
What happens on the hearing date?
Give yourself plenty of time.
- You do not want to be late for your hearing. Give yourself plenty of time for parking and navigating the courthouse.
Once You Walk into the Courthouse...
- Once you walk in, the first thing you will see is airport-like security. You will need to put your belongings through the metal detector. You can bring in laptops and cellphones, unlike some courthouses.
Read More: The Small Claims Hearing- Los Angeles
Once you arrive at the small claims courtroom, locate your case on the paper schedule outside the courtroom door.
- Outside of each courtroom, there will be a printed list of the cases that have hearings on that day.
- You want to locate your case on the schedule. If you don't see your case listed, but you have received notice that your case will be heard that day, you may want to try and speak to the bailiff or clerk in the courtroom. If you are unable to speak to them, go to the small claims court clerk to verify.
- Make sure to use that waiting time to organize your evidence or go to the restroom.
- Once the courtroom is opened, the court clerk, sheriff, and judge will go through what to expect. You will be sitting in a room with other people who have filed small claims cases. You will get to watch the cases before yours. Make sure you are in the courtroom when your case is called!
If both parties show up:
- Right before the hearing, the judge will ask you and the person you sued to show each other the evidence that they have brought with them.
- The Judge will ask you why you are suing.
- Then the person who is being sued will get to present their side of the story.
- The hearing will last around 15 minutes.
- The judge will ask you to show the judge the evidence you brought with you. Sometimes the judge will keep the evidence. Otherwise, you will get the evidence right back.
- Very rarely a judge will tell you who won or lost immediately after the hearing. Instead, the judge will tell you that their decision will be mailed to them (usually takes a few weeks to two months or so).
If only the plaintiff shows up:
- The plaintiff (the person who is suing) has to still prove their case. The plaintiff will have to tell the judge why they are suing and provide enough evidence.
If only the defendant shows up:
- The case gets dismissed without prejudice (meaning that the plaintiff can still file the case again later on.)
Are attorneys allowed in small claims court?
- Attorneys are not allowed to represent parties at the initial hearing. If the defendant appeals the case, then attorneys are allowed to represent the parties at the appeal hearing.
- You would not be able to hire a lawyer to represent you at the initial small claims court hearing.
Access your Small Claims Lawsuit Files Online
Did you know you can view and download filed documents for your West Covina Small Claims Court case online? Documents you, the other party, or the court files, will appear in the online case docket.
The online case docket consists of a list of "events" in the case. Each time you, the other party, or the court files a document, a new event is created. You are able to access the small claims court case docket for free. If you need to download a document filed in the case, the court charges a fee. You can find a list of fees here.
Translators and West Covina Small Claims Court
Did you know that you can request a free interpreter/translator for your West Covina Small Claims Court case? You can get a translator for yourself or your witness. Learn how to request a translator here.
Small Claims Mediation
Some small claims courts offer free mediation on the date of your hearing.
- What is mediation? Mediation is a meeting between both you and the person you sued conducted by a neutral third-party (a mediator). The parties will meet with a mediator, discuss their case, and try to reach a mutually beneficial solution. Both parties must agree to mediation and it cannot be forced on them.
- When will mediation occur? The court clerk, judge, or sheriff will announce if there are mediators available that day. Usually, the judge will tell the audience that if you opt for mediation, you can try to mediate the case while other hearings are being conducted. If you finish the mediation early, then you get to "skip the line" and your case is processed faster.