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§1.03 Types of Recovery

You may hear actions for recovery of money damages that are within the jurisdictional limits set for small claims actions. Small claims court has jurisdiction to hear the following:

  • An action by a natural person for recovery of money if the amount demanded does not exceed $10,000. [CCP §116.221.]
  • An action for recovery of money by any party who is not a natural person if the amount demanded does not exceed $5000. [CCP §116.220(a)(1).]

For example, a natural person may bring an action in small claims court to recover a security deposit and damages that total $10,000 or less. [See CC §1950.5(n).] Exceptions apply to the limit for natural persons, including automobile accident cases in which damages for bodily injuries are limited to $7500 when the defendant’s insurance policy includes a duty to defend. [CCP §116.224(a)–(b).]

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In any action for the recovery of money, you may also grant equitable relief “in the form of rescission, restitution, reformation, and specific performance, in lieu of, or in addition to, money damages” and retain jurisdiction until full payment and performance are made. You may also issue conditional judgments ordering a form of equitable relief conditioned by an award of damages on noncompliance of the order. [CCP §116.220(b).] An injunction is only available in a small claims proceeding when specifically authorized by statute. [CCP 116.220(a)(5).]

Lesson 1:
Small Claims
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