Small Claims in California
- Good afternoon!
I am considering filing a claim against a client in Palo Alto
California to obtain a judgment and collection enforcement of
seriously overdue payments for services provided in 2005 and 2006.
The company is a technology company, registeredin CA as a corporation.
I have the corporation registration details and the name and address
of the corporate officer for receiving service.
As I mentioned the company owes more than USD 9,000.00 for
translation work requested by them, delivered by us, and used by them
in their marketing and sales activities.
While the person originally requesting the services has since left
the company, the company has not disputed the charges nor outright
refused to pay but has on numerous occasions said that it has put all
contractor payments on hold pending injection of investor funds.
I have provided the customer with all communications documenting the
charges and I have provided a breakdown for each request showing the
date, the files processed, the requestor, the languages done and the
The customer has reviewed the documentation and has not disputed the
I have demanded payment numerous times and the customer has responded
to my demands that contractor payments are on hold.
I have issued invoices for the principle as well as final invoices
including interest to date.
I have offered to accept partial payment. I have offered a discount
for immediate payment. I have waited.
But two weeks ago, when I made one of my regular inquiries as to the
status of payment I receive the rather ballsy response: "Keep
checking back with us every four weeks or so." That was it!
I have a couple of questions regarding prosecuting this in CA small
1) Does it make a difference if I as plaintiff am a sole proprietor
and the defendant is a corporation.
2) What is the legal rate of interest I can charge for the amounts
due and when can I start charging that interest? After all, I have
had to pay my people and I have not had the use of my money for quite
a few months now.
3) Can I compound the interest? In other words, the principle and
first month's interest gives a total; the interest rate is applied to
that total for the second month to obtain a new total; the rate is
applied to the second month's total to obtain the new 3rd month's
4) What is a legal and reasonable fee for carrying the debt from
month to month? I would like to recover for carrying the debt, the
administration of writing and communicating with these people, etc.
Is this admissible in CA small claims?
5) What is a legal and reasonable late charge penalty per month that
would be admissible in CA courts?
6) I must appear in person in court in CA. I live in NY. How can I
claim my reasonable travel expenses and hotel/meals. After all, I
must travel to assert my rights and I would not have to do so had the
customer paid its debts.
7) Whereas this case concerns only one defendant who has not paid for
projects done in 2005 and 2006 and the amount for 2005 is well over
the USD 7,500 ceiling for small claims, I intend to file two claims:
one for outstanding debt for jobs done in 2005 and a second claim for
the money due for jobs done in 2006.
Since the max I can claim for 2005 is USD 7,500 my strategy is to
roll over some of the additional penalty charges to the 2006
receivables and to include in that claim also my costs at least in
that manner I can recoup some of the amount over the 7,500 and my
costs. Is that feasible in CA?
Thanks very, very much for your help!
Harold W. Vadney
- FIRST, it sounds like you better find out if the company has filed
in Federal Bankruptcy Court.
If so, you can forget the rest of your plan and file as a 'unsecured
creditor' in the Bankruptcy case.
The California Small Claims courts I know about have a 'ceiling' of
$5,000 for Small Claims cases [and you cannot 'split' your claim].
You may also have problems with California Statutes of Limitations.
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov has California law available on-line.
Also check court.info.ca.gov for [statewide] Rules of Court.
"hvadney" <hvadney@...> wrote:
> Good afternoon!
> I am considering filing a claim against a client in Palo Alto
> California to obtain a judgment and collection enforcement of
> seriously overdue payments for services provided in 2005 and 2006.
Cal (fresno)is now $7,500 and I believe a two year stat for damages of the like Info = small claims advisor
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