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Is there a small claims court PDF for California that can be Filled out and Saved online or downloaded?
I’ll answer your questions first and then give you my opinion. In terms of proof, the standard of proof in civil cases is “beyond a preponderance of the evidence,” that is, to win your case, you would need to show that, given all reasonable evidence presented, it is more likely than not that your claims are true and that you are owed the $260 (just s greater than 50% chance of everything being true is enough to suffice). Thus, in your specific case, you would need to present evidence which established that 1. You provided your friend $260. 2. It was provided as a loan, not as charity or a gift. And 3. That your friend never repaid the $260. If you have ANY form of written communication that indicates items #1 & 2, such as a text message where she asks for a loan of $260, and a subsequent message thanking you for the loan, that should be enough. A cancelled check would be great. Just anything to establish that you gave her $260, and did so specifically as a loan. Given the nature of small claims court, testimony from anyone who saw her make the request, and/or you provide her the money would also likely be enough to suffice. As to #3, since you state she has refused to repay you, hopefully you have that in writing somewhere (again, perhaps a text message) or someone who can testify that she has not. If there was no repayment date specified, you may also have to establish some form of timeline, but if a reasonable period of time has already elapsed with no payment (say, a year, maybe), that should suffice. While the initial loan was only for $260, and you may not have demanded any interest when you provided the principle, you could argue that her refusal to repay it - and the resultant delay - has led to other damages that entitle you to more than the original $260. This would depend entirely on the specifics of your case. For Small Claims Court in North Carolina, the filing fee seems to be $96 for each case, plus a $30 fee to serve the defendant. That’s $126 just to file, and you might only be seeking to recover $260. Now, you can also argue to recover court costs, but all of this hinges on your case prevailing. Probably most importantly though, EVEN IF YOU WIN, you still are faced with the challenge of ACTUALLY COLLECTING the money. There are MILLIONS of dollars of judgements that go unpaid each and every year. The defendant might do the responsible thing and pay you, but if t didn’t, the only thing you could do is file more suits seeking to enforce payment (like garnishing their wages) or hire a debt collection company to do this for you. Or, sell your debt to a debt collection company (you’d get far less than any judgement, but more than zero). ALL that being said, I largely agree with another answer to your question - it’s probably not worth the filing fees and your time/effort to do this. Now, if it’s a matter of principle for you, and you believe you have enough evidence, then by all means go for it. But realize that, when all is said and done, the most likely outcome is you’ll have effectively “thrown good money after bad money.” As a side-note, if you have absolutely irrefutable evidence that she owes you a debt and has not paid (again, text messages, emails, etc.), you might consider blasting a warning letter to everyone she knows, her friends, her family, her employer, etc. detailing the facts of how she agreed to a loan you provided, but then refused to pay you back. Such information might prevent any future victims from being conned, and you just might shame her into doing the right thing without paying a dime in filing fees. BUT, you need concrete proof, and need to make absolutely sure you’re in the right, and that any information you include is 100% objective and factual. Otherwise SHE could turn around and SUE YOU for libel. And so, I’d be very careful with such a course of action, and personally would not recommend it, but I will say that I’ve seen such tactics work even when a lawsuit had failed. If you’re really in the right, widespread public shame can be a powerful thing. Lastly, aside from attempts to obtain repayment, I’d sever all ties with the person - t clearly do not care about you and are not worthy of being in your life. Best of luck! Edit. Also, a quick note about an old friend of mine. He once had a business deal go south where he’d paid a website developer $7,000 to create a website, and t provided him with basically a buggy template he could have purchased himself for $250 two months AFTER the specified delivery date. The lawyer he had said it was a small claims matter and that he probably would never see a dime. A few more attorneys basically concurred. My friend sent the person 3 certified letters over 3 weeks demanding a refund; he never heard a word. Finally, he walked into the local courthouse one day, and with the assistance of a (clearly annoyed, but still helpful) clerk, was able to file a case and have the person served by the sheriff. Literally 2 days AFTER this person was served, my friend received a check through UPS for a full refund, no explanation or anything. The check cleared. The point. sometimes just being served with a lawsuit is enough to make people take action, despite everyone else’s opinion. 2nd Edit. I just wanted to add, again, in terms of $ and $ alone, it’s probably not worth your time going to court over this. Even small claims court (which is designed to be specifically friendly to “pro se” litigants (people without a lawyer). And if you have the evidence, and it’s a matter of principle for you, sure, absolutely go for it. But if it’s just a matter of money, or mainly is, consider this. in the best possible situation I can think of, you would win (and be able to collect) the initial $260, plus maybe ~30% awarded as interest (depends on your case, likely less, but again this is the best possible outcome) so ~$78, all costs, so ~$126 (it will likely be a bit more though), for a whopping grand total of $464. Now, gathering all your evidence together, filing a lawsuit (while likely will require at least one trip to your local courthouse), time to have the person served (and assuming t are served successfully on the first try), time for them to file an initial response, time to get an actual court date for a situation of (relatively) low importance during a pandemic, time and effort to actually collect the money assuming you win the case…all in all you could be talking months until everything is fully resolved, possibly longer. On the other hand, if your job offers overtime, or you found a part time job that pays $15 per hour, and worked just 2 HOURS, each weekday, for a just a single month, you’d have $600. So, much more money, in less time, with probably less overall effort. And certainly more guaranteed. So, with the above in mind, I suppose my overall advice is, work a bit more for a month or two, enjoy having more money than if you’d ever filed and won that lawsuit, use a bit of that money to go out and treat yourself one night, and forget about the $260 and the lame person who took it.
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